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Self Directed Programs

Preschool, Elementary, and Secondary Education Programs at

The University of Virginia’s

Historic Blandy Experimental Farm

The State Arboretum of Virginia

To Register for a program use the link to the left. 

Questions? Contact us at or call 540-837-1758 ext. 290

The State Arboretum of Virginia is a regional center for environmental education; providing life-long learning for all ages.  Our education programs are dedicated to providing local environmental science education and imparting a sense of place to students.
Our Mission: 
Encourage scientific exploration, discovery, and stewardship of our natural world by fostering a learning community among preK-12 students and teachers and scientists. 

Our Vision: 
To be the premier outdoor-based education facility for environmental science education and training for students, teachers, and scientists in the mid-Atlantic region.

Each Education Program includes an exciting variety of inquiry-based structured learning experiences for school-aged groups from public, private, and home schools. We encourage teachers, students, and parents to engage in exploration of the Arboretum by using their own educational activities or reserving a self-directed backpack collection of pre-planned activities.
Program Features
  • All programs provide hands-on learning experiences through indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Students interact through inquiry discussions and questions to help them apply what they already know to their new experiences.
  • Programs are aligned to Virginia SOLs and are designed to complement and enhance what educators are teaching in their classrooms.
  • Most school programs begin at the Parkfield Learning Center (inside) or Peetwood Pavilion for Environmental Education (seasonal, covered outdoor classroom, a short walk from the main parking area.
Program Structure:
For 1 to 2 classes visiting Blandy: Allow 90 minutes for each program (which includes pre-program orientation and restroom break), unless otherwise stated in the program description. We can lead two programs at one time– one in the Parkfield Learning Center and at Peetwood Pavilion. There are three time slots available (10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.).
For 3 to 5 classes visiting Blandy: The Education team at Blandy Experimental Farm has developed Rotation Schedules for many of the programs offered at Blandy. With these schedules, Blandy staff and teachers share the responsibility for leading students through the program activities. The rotation schedule is:
  • Intended for schools bringing 3-5 classes in one day
  • Set up as a series of stations the classes move through using a predetermined schedule
  • Planned for maximum student engagement
  • Designed to enhance the students' learning experiences
  • Available for ALL our programs except the following: Water Quality Techology, Science Explorations, and Careers at the Arboretum. 
  • A typical rotation will take about 2-3 hours. Call or email for more information.
  • Arrival time is 9:40 a.m. for program briefing and restroom visits

Fees: Program fees vary from $4 to $9 per student, depending on program selected. Please see our brochure for details.

Call 540-837-1758 Ext. 242 or email if you have questions about program structure. Our Facilities Include:
  • 175-acre Arboretum collection featuring over 1,000 species of native and exotic trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants
  • Parking area designated for school buses
  • Two classrooms
  • Picnic area with tables and a water fountain
  • Wheelchair accessible restrooms in Quarters, Parkfield Learning Center, and the Peetwood Pavilion.
Cancellation Policy-Cancellation Fee: If you cancel your program (s) within 3 weeks of your scheduled date, you will be charged the minimum fee of $40 per program canceled. We are unable to fill timeslots vacated within 3 weeks of a program date due to the lead time needed for schools to schedule field trips. Programs will be held rain or shine, except for severe weather.

Arboretum Etiquette 
To preserve and protect the Arboretum, we ask you follow these guidelines:
  • Do not pick or collect any plant, animal, or geologic materials without prior permission.
  • Do not climb on any stone walls, trees or buildings. Stay on paths or grassy areas.
  • Be aware of common natural hazards like poison ivy, uneven ground and weather changes.
  • Please allow 20 minutes for an entire class to use the restroom before or after a program.
  • Please keep noise levels down when near the Quarters building.
  • Please respect the privacy of our staff working in the Quarters building.
  • Organized team sports or games are prohibited.