Educational Programs

The Arboretum's programs introduce students to the wonders and complexities of our natural world. Each program is age-appropriate and supports Common Core as well as Alabama Standard and Extended Course of Study. To print the contents of this page, download the PDF version.

Guided Programs:

  • Availability: Monday – Friday
  • Length: 1 to 1 ½ hours, but can be enriched and extended if your schedule allows.
  • Grade Level: All grade levels
  • Additional Information: We love partnering with schools and are willing to provide a customized program to suit your specific curriculum.
  • Scheduling: Contact us at or call 844-5770

Program Listing:

The brief descriptions of each program are intended to allow educators to prepare in advance for their class trip to the arboretum. Currently, programs are designed for upper elementary school students, but each can be adapted for a variety of grade levels. Below you will find a listing of our current programs and the grades 3-5 science standards taught during each session.

Fall Fruits*

Alabama Course of Study Science Standards: Grade 3(7); Grade 4(5); Grade 5(8)
Next Generation Science Standards: 3-LS4-2, 4-LS1-1
The diversity of fall fruit in the arboretum attracts birds and other wildlife. The wildlife relies on the fruits for food and the plants rely on the animals to spread their seed. Finding spiny balls, rattling pods, and red berries, we’ll learn fruits are different and what wildlife they feed.

Fruit to Flower*

Alabama Course of Study Science Standards: Grade 3(7); Grade 4(5)
Next Generation Science Standards: 3-LS1-1, 4-LS1-1
In this lesson students learn that flowers produce the fruits we eat. Students will correctly arrange photos of flower and fruit growth. Depending on the time of year, students may dissect flowers to examine the effects of pollination on the growth and development of flowers and fruit.

Garden Drive 101

Alabama Course of Study Science Standards: Grade 4(5); Grade 5(9)
Next Generation Science Standards: 5-PS3-1, 5-LS2-1
This activity allows students to take on the roles of native wildlife. Once they become an insect, bird, or reptile, they will interact with each other and landscapes ‘planted’ with native and nonnative plant species to see which ones are more effective at supporting populations, food chains, and food webs.

That’s Classified!

Alabama Course of Study Science Standards: Grade 3(7,8); Grade 4(6)
Next Generation Science Standards: NA
This activity gives students the chance to classify things. Students can use posters in a large group or handouts as individuals or in small groups. The keys we have designed can be used with all K-12 students and can be followed through to a variety of levels of detail. Students will classify living things from the Arboretum and/or choose from a series of cards that include a diversity of items ranging from oak trees, to trucks, to butterflies, even snakes and lakes can be classified with the appropriate key.

Oh Deer!

Alabama Course of Study Standards: Grade 5(9)
Next Generation Science Standards: 3-LS4-3, 5-LS1-1
Students will identify and describe food, shelter and water as three essential components of habitat. They will describe ‘carrying capacity’ and define ‘limiting factors’ for wildlife populations. They will participate in an activity that will illustrate the importance of good habitat, how limiting factors influence fluctuations in populations, and that nature is constantly changing.

Scientific Observation of Leaves

Alabama Course of Study Science Standards: Grade 3(7,8); Grade 4(5)
Next Generation Science Standards: 4-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1
Students will make detailed observations of a leaf. They will do a leaf rubbing, measure their leaf, and describe characteristics of their leaf. Older students will identify their leaf type and discuss ways plants and animals depend on each other.

The Diversity of Bark

Alabama Course of Study Science Standards: Grade 3(7,8)
Next Generation Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
Learn the purpose of bark on a tree and examine some different pattern, colors and textures on trees in the arboretum. Learn some of the vocabulary that describes the different qualities that help distinguish one tree from another.

The Bog

Alabama Course of Study Science Standards: Grade 3(7,10,13); Grade 4(5), Grade 5(9)
Next Generation Science Standards: 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 4-LS1-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1
A visit to the arboretum's carnivorous plant bogs can be as simple as an introduction to the kinds of carnivorous plants native to the southeastern United States. Older students can take a closer look as they dissect the leaves of a pitcher plant and record data on the types of prey consumed by different species of pitcher plants in our bog. Students can also observe how water conservation is addressed in this specific landscape. The program typically includes information about the wetland habitats where these plants are found and the how carnivorous plants function.

Nature Walk and Turtle Feeding

Join us on a walk through the woods to see what’s out there. Look for animal signs, insects, seeds, any sign of forest life, and finish with feeding the turtles in the pond.

* This program is season-specific and only offered at the appropriate time. Call for more information.