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Viles Arboretum

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Classes and Workshops

Salamander Monitoring


with Viles Arboretum

Calendar Next available session starts Apr 20, 2024 at 10 am
9 additional sessions through Jun 29, 2024

Join us as we monitor red-backed salamanders at the Arboretum. You'll have an opportunity to check under cover boards, learn how to identify salamander species, handle them safely, measure them, and record helpful scientific data for the arboretum! By surveying red-backed salamanders, we will be providing a snapshot into the health of the arboretum’s hemlock collection. Click here to learn more.

This program is great for older teenagers and adults, but younger children are welcome to attend with their adult.


Crafting your Own Fishing Handline


with Wood Thrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts Apr 24, 2024 at 5 pm

Learn how to design and carve your own fishing handline. Each student will get materials to make up to two handlines, though only one may be completed during the class. Supplies include wood, line, hooks, and weights, We will go over everything from how to use your handline and cast it properly.

Beginner Bird Walks


with Lauren Kircheis

Calendar Next available session starts Apr 27, 2024 at 8 am

Have you wanted to get into birding but not known where to start? Maybe you have started backyard birding but are looking to expand your horizons? Join us on one of our popular bird walk tours to and to learn more about bird ID, habitat and behavior. 

Lauren Kircheis, Viles Arboretum Director of Research and Education, will be leading these walks. She has an expansive knowledge on Maine's birds and their biology. These classes are welcoming to all skill levels. No equipment or prior knowledge is required, we just recommend good shoes! Each walk runs between 1.5 and 2 hours, we usually cover a little over a mile on foot at a slow pace.  

A limited number of binoculars and bird books are available in the Visitor Center to borrow. 

Class will not run in the event of incliment weather; steady rain or winds above 20 mph. In the event that a session cancels, you will have the option to transfer to a future session or you will be awarded a full refund. 

Farmers Market Basket


with Wood Thrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts Apr 28, 2024 at 9 am

Here is a basket that you can take to the market to grab your fresh produce and bakery items. Everyone is welcome to join this class. If you have never weaved before I will be doing step by step directions. You will walk away with a finished basket.

This basket will have two straps that can be worn on the shoulder or carried. Multiple color options on strap. The material of the basket is flat and half round quality reed. We will also add color reed in the basket if desired from blue, purple, red, green, and brown.

Dandelion as Food and Wine


with Wood Thrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts May 4, 2024 at 9 am

Did you ever know all the amazing things can make from Dandelions. Join us in this learn how to collect and process these amazing plants. - Learn recipes with dandelion greens- Use dandelion flowers to make jams, teas and wines.- Go over the beneficial properties of dandelion roots. We will taste, create and make some delicious dishes.

Medicinal Plant Walks


with Debra Bluth

Calendar Next available session starts May 18, 2024 at 10 am
2 additional sessions through Sep 14, 2024

On this walk, we'll meet some plants, both wild and cultivated, and learn how they might be used from an herbal, homeopathic, or flower essence perspective.  Some plants might be very familiar (often our local weeds are actually wonderful medicinals), while others might be less well-known. During these late summer walks we will be meeting plants at the end of their growing season. For those that have attended previous walks, a new variety of late-season plants will be covered during this program. We'll talk about identifying factors, parts of the plants used, and preparation. Come be nourished by spending time with these healing friends.

This is a three-part series, you may choose to come to one, or all of the sessions. We will cover unique species as the seasons change. Example of species we may cover across the different sessions are listed below;

Session 1:

  • Burdock
  • Violet
  • Cinquefoil
  • Oak
  • Sumac
  • Elderberry
  • Willow
  • Bloodroot

Session 2:

  • Red clover
  • Comfrey
  • Ginkgo
  • Red Cedar
  • Yarrow
  • Hawthorn

Session 3:

  • Elecampane
  • Mugwort
  • Lesser periwinkle
  • Sassafras
  • Goldenrod
  • Queen Anne's Lace

 There will be the opportunity to taste tinctures made from plants found on this walk. 

Please dress for the weather. We recommend footwear such as boots or hiking shoes you dont mind getting dirty. 

Debra Bluth, CCH, is an herbalist, homeopath, flower essence practitioner, and movement teacher with a practice in midcoast Maine and online.  She also is affiliated with Delta Gardens, a center for flower essence research, education, and practice located in NH. 

Recommended for ages 16 and up. We will be doing some walking so bring good shoes! 

We do not wish for the price of this program to be a barrier for anyone interested in attending, and have several scholarship opportunities available.  Please reach out to us by emailing for more information.. 

Tree ID and Why it Matters


with Viles Arboretum

Calendar Next available session starts Jun 8, 2024 at 1 pm

Come and learn some basic tree ID skills with Augusta Area District Forester Jared Gregory!

This tree talk focuses on offering participants a basic skills toolbox to help them understand the features that define specific types of trees. Beyond that we will discuss why tree identification is an important skill for everyone. We will see examples of some of the species that are currently common in the Maine landscape and those that we can expect to see more of as winters get shorter and average temperature increases. 

This is designed to be an experience that is open and friendly to everyone! We will be walking across varied terrain for up to one mile so we advise planning accordingly. In the event of steady rain we will cancel/reschedule. 

Wild Bees: Super-pollinators!


with First Light Wildlife Habitats

Calendar Next available session starts Aug 17, 2024 at 10 am

Join Deborah Perkins of First Light Wildlife Habitats to learn more about the fascinating lives of our native bee species and how you can help save them. This exciting walk and workshop will cover the following topics:

  • The ecology & behavior of our fascinating native bees
  • Habitat needs and environmental stressors
  • How you can create a high value habitat in your own dooryard, farm, field, or forestland How to boost biodiversity and pollination services
  • How to experience what Deb calls “Zen and the Art of Bee Observation”

The first portion of this class will feature a in-person presentation in our Viles Room followed by an interractive walk on the Arboretum grounds.

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