grassy field with row of conifer trees behind

Programs, Workshops & Walks

A note about our programs

We hold most programs rain, snow, or shine, unless we notify you otherwise. If you cancel your registration seven days or more prior to the program date, we’ll refund your fee in full. If you cancel within seven days of the program date, we are unable to refund your fee. If the Foundation of the State Arboretum cancels a program for any reason, we will refund your fee in full. Programs open to children/youth require an adult to attend with them and the adult is responsible for their supervision for the duration of the program. Advance registration is required for all programs. Space is limited.

Lena Artz (1891-1976), a pioneering botanist of the Massanuttens

Thursday, June 13th 6:00-7:00 PM

Speaker: Andrea Weeks, Ph.D. | Associate Professor and Director of the Ted R. Bradley Herbarium (Lord Fairfax Community College/George Mason University)

The Shenandoah Valley was once home to a pioneering botanist of the Massanutten Mountains, Lena Clemmons Artz (1891-1976).

A high school biology educator, Lena dedicated her life outside of the classroom to documenting the unique plant communities of Shenandoah and Rockingham Counties and advocating for their preservation. Until an archive of her field notebooks and personal papers was discovered, little was known about her life or her contributions to our knowledge of the flora of Virginia.

This presentation summarizes findings from this archive and her herbarium specimens to illuminate her life’s work and how it unexpectedly intersected with that of another unsung, resident botanist of the Shenandoah Valley, Francis W. Hunnewell, II. A Massachusetts attorney and prolific botanical collector with lifelong ties to Harvard, Hunnewell became a Virginian by choice as the last private owner of Belle Grove Plantation. Despite their very different backgrounds, he and Lena had much in common and conducted fieldwork together. Come to the presentation to learn about these fascinating individuals and their contributions to our knowledge of the flora of the southeastern US.

What to expect: A lecture-style talk.

Who can come: This program is designed for adult audiences.

Where to meet: The Blandy library (located in the Quarters building)

Registration required. Register on Eventbrite.

Firefly Festival

8:00-9:30 PM Tuesday, June 18th

Rain date- Same time Friday, June 21st

Explore the fascinating world of fireflies with outdoor crafts, activities, games, and a short nature talk. As dusk falls, we'll catch and release fireflies and watch them in action.

What to expect: A family-friendly program with crafts, activities, and firefly programming.

Who can come: This program is suitable for all ages.

What to bring: Firefly/bug-inspired attire encouraged! Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Bring a flashlight if you wish. Bug spray recommended.

Where to meet: The courtyard at the Quarters building.

Registration required. Register on Eventbrite.

Firefly Walk

8:00-9:30 PM Thursday, June 20th or Saturday, June 22nd

Same program offered twice.

Everyone loves fireflies, but how do they make their light, and why? Enjoy the light show while learning about these fascinating insects.

What to expect: An outdoor nature walk. We will walk about a mile over gently rolling terrain.

Who can come: This program is suitable for all ages.

What to bring: Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Bring a flashlight if you wish. Bug spray recommended.

Where to meet: Meet at the flagpole at the front parking lot close to the “Arboretum Information” kiosk.

Registration required. Register on Eventbrite.

Techniques and Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture in Virginia

Tuesday, June 25th 6:30-9:00 PM

Please join us for the first of a series of workshops and presentations on the techniques and benefits of restorative grazing.

In this series you will learn how to apply methods of grazing to reduce costs, produce grass-fed livestock as a profitable income, increase the quality of soil, and provide support to a variety of wildlife.

We will view Part One of a newly released documentary, “Roots So Deep You Can See the Devil Down There.” This series follows how seven farmers in the US adopted these farming and grazing techniques over four years and continue today.

We’ll have the opportunity to meet local farmers who have applied the methods here in Virginia, as well as a local goat herder who utilizes her animals for brush and weed clearing.

You’ll have the chance to talk through the goals and questions for your property if you like.

What to expect: A film screening followed by a discussion.

Who can come: This program is designed for adult audiences, but children ages 10+ welcome. The program is intended primarily for landowners who own at least 20 acres of land.

What to bring: Paper and pen for taking notes.

Where to meet: The library (located in the Quarters building).

Registration required. Register on Eventbrite.

Around the World in Ten Trees

9:30-11:00 AM Sunday, July 14th

Got the travel bug? Here’s your chance to see unique trees form around the world without leaving the Clarke County! Find out about the ecology and cultural significance of trees from Asia, Europe, North Africa, and across North America as you explore the arboretum with a naturalist. Depending on how fast we walk, we’ll see eight to ten trees.

What to expect: We will walk about a mile over gently rolling terrain.

Who can come: This program is designed for adults and children aged 8 and up. No pets, please!

What to bring: Wear comfortable walking shoes, dress for the weather, and bring a full water bottle.

Where to meet: Meet at the flagpole at the front parking lot close to the “Arboretum Information” kiosk.

Free program, but registration required. Register on Eventbrite.

Night Hike

Thursday, July 18th 8:00-9:30 PM

Explore the arboretum on a guided nature walk. Who knows what we’ll discover?

What to expect: We will walk about a mile over gently rolling terrain in variable light conditions.

Who can come: All ages! But no pets, please!

What to bring: Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Bring a flashlight if you wish.

Where to meet: Meet at the flagpole at the front parking lot close to the “Arboretum Information” kiosk.

Registration required. Register on Eventbrite.

Death by Millions & Millions of Cuts

Why lawns are so environmentally destructive & strategies for transitioning them into functional habitat again

Tuesday, July 23rd 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Speaker: Justin Proctor, a conservation biologist with the Smithsonian's Virginia Working Landscapes program based in Front Royal, has spent 15+ years working with the research, conservation, and outreach behind incentivizing a more sustainable land ethic at the community level.

Overview:   Join us in the first of our multi-session program, “Conservation-Minded, Low Maintenance Landscaping.” Over the coming months, join us for workshops on how to establish and maintain an eco-friendly, bio-healthy, economical, low-maintenance yards. The goal of this program is to increase the amount of suburban and urban land that can support and sustain a variety of wildlife and ecosystems, with ultimately less maintenance required. There will be opportunities among participants to share success stories, discuss challenges, and learn from experts and from one another.

Kicking off the series, Justin will be giving an engaging talk on the shovel-ready opportunities that landowners and landscapers have at their fingertips to convert countless acres of unused and unnecessary lawn into productive habitat. The talk will explore strategies, technical assistance, and cost-share programs that can greatly simplify and accelerate these changes.

What to expect: A lecture-type talk

Who can come: Landowners with yards one acre or less, landscapers, students, developers, real estate agents

Where to meet: The library (located in the Quarters building).

Registration required. Register on Eventbrite.

Moth Party!

Friday, July 26th 7:30-9:00 PM

Come join us for an evening of moths, fireflies, and more! For National Moth Week, Blandy is hosting an evening event to celebrate not only moths, but all the wonderful diversity of nocturnal insects. We will start our evening with an introduction to insects, followed by a firefly walk, and concluding by observing moths and other insects at a black light. Our event will be structured from 7:30-9:00 PM. If you like, you're welcome to stay with us for a bit longer to observe and appreciate nocturnal insects, and/or participate in some community science projects with us (Firefly Watch, National Moth Week, and iNaturalist).

What to expect: We will walk about 0.5 miles over gently rolling terrain in variable light conditions.

Who can come: All ages! But no pets, please!

What to bring: Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Bring a flashlight.

Where to meet: Meet at the flagpole at the front parking lot close to the “Arboretum Information” kiosk.

Registration required. Register on Eventbrite.