Field Study Experiences

Field Study Experiences

students enjoying their field study experience

Volunteer to lead a group

The Arboretum offers seasonal school programs for public school students in grades Pre-K to 5. These one- to two-hour programs are designed to encourage the investigation of plant science in the meadows, ponds, and woodlands of the Arnold Arboretum. Our goal is to provide an intellectually stimulating experience in the landscape for each student. We do this by encouraging hands-on exploration of seasonal phenomena and thoughtful conversations with students about the plants they encounter here. We maintain small groups lead by  a volunteer guide so that students can receive individual attention from a supportive and knowledgeable adult. We use a variety of tools, and we ask students to share their learning through dialogue, drawings, and presentations. Programs are designed to be developmentally appropriate and on-going coordination with the teachers ensures that our content supports classroom learning goals. Our programs align with Massachusetts State Frameworks and Boston curricular standards. Pre- and post-visit materials help teachers plan a challenging learning opportunity.

  • Classes of 15 to 50 students are invited to pre-register.
  • Fee is $4.00 per child for non-Boston schools. Children from Boston schools, the Arboretum’s home community, are served free of charge. The Field Study program is available only to schools in the Metro-Boston area, defined as schools residing within the I-95/Route 128 beltway.
  • Programs take place from 10:00am to noon, on weekdays only.
  • Spring programs run from April through June; fall programs run from September through November.
    Spring 2017 is fully booked. If you still want to come this spring for a self-guided study, contact Ana Maria Caballero, Children’s Education Fellow.
  • We are taking reservations for fall 2017; please contact Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children’s Education.


As of 2017, our offerings include the following programs:

May 224visit 023 Explorations introduces the flora and fauna of the Arboretum to preschool, kindergarten and first grade children.
May 224visit 023 Organisms complements the Boston Public School’s first grade life science study of both aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Program suitable for grades 1-2.
May 224visit 023 Old Plants: Learning About Plant Parts complements the Boston Public School’s second grade life science study of plant life cycles and the functions of each plant part. Program suitable for grades 1-3.
May 224visit 023 Flowers Change focuses on floral parts and functions as pollinated flower makes seeds, for grades 3-5.
May 224visit 023 Plants in Autumn: How Seeds Travel explores the diversity of seed package structures that promote seed dispersal, for grades 3-5.
May 224visit 023 Native Trees/Native Peoples compares and contrasts native evergreen and deciduous trees that were used by Eastern Woodland Indians to meet basic survival needs. Suitable for grades 3-5.
May 224visit 023 Hemlock Hill: An Evolving Ecosystem introduces Boston Public School fifth grade students to an urban forest ecosystem to learn about producers, consumers, and decomposers. Also suitable for grades 4-6.
May 224visit 023 You and your students! We can help you plan an independent field study at the Arnold Arboretum. Contact us for details.