School Programs

Elementary school classes from throughout the Sacramento Valley come to the UC Davis Arboretum to learn about the natural history of the region. During guided tours, volunteer naturalists lead small groups that explore the ecology of the Arboretum along the banks of the old north fork of Putah Creek, and use hands-on activities to reinforce the California life science and/or history-social science standards for the appropriate grade.

Due to budget limitations, however, we are currently not offering our guided school tour program. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Classes can visit the Arboretum independently and tour the gardens at any time. See below for some self-led activities you can do to prepare for your visit. We will be planning family and child-oriented activities in the future. Please check back for more information.

Planning and Organizing Your Class Visit

What is the Arboretum?

Directions
Arboretum Visitor Map

 

Classroom Activities

Second Grade Activities on Life Cycles

A Coat For a Seed Students will learn concepts connected to the life cycles of plants via the exploration of the parts of a bean. (Estimated activity time: 30 minutes.)

Plant Parts This activity helps students learn about plant structures by letting them identify which parts of plants some familiar foods represent. For example, is broccoli a fruit, a stem, a bunch of leaves, or flowers? (Estimated activity time: 30-45 minutes.)

Seed Need This activity helps students see how some plants use animals to carry their seeds and disperse them. (Estimated activity time: 40 minutes.)

Odes to Plants In this activity, students will communicate information about plants through creative poetry, which can incorporate personal values as well as facts. (Estimated activity time: 30 minutes.)

Fourth Grade Activities on Adaptations

Butterfly Camouflage This activity simulates a butterfly’s adaptation to its habitat through means of camouflage and the role adaptations play in predation. The goal of this activity is to introduce or re-emphasize the idea of adaptation by looking at an example of camouflage. (Estimated activity time: 15-30 minutes.)

Bird Beaks This activity introduces the concept of adaptation to students. They will use different kinds of everyday household tools to develop an understanding about how different shapes of bird beaks help birds eat specific kinds of foods. (Estimated activity time: 30-45 minutes.)

Odes to Plants In this activity, students will communicate information about plants through creative poetry, which can incorporate personal values as well as facts. (Estimated activity time: 30 minutes.)

 

Other Opportunities with Outdoor Education

Self-Guided Tours are a popular option for classes wishing to explore the UC Davis Arboretum. These tours are free. Call (530) 752-4880 for more information.

Volunteer Naturalists. Community volunteers are vital to our Outdoor Education Program. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer naturalist or working with us on a school project (examples: school garden, environmental curriculum, special tours), please contact us at (530) 752-4880 or arboretum@ucdavis.edu. For more information on volunteering, click here: Volunteering at the UC Davis Arboretum.

Student Interns are invited to get hands-on experience in outdoor education. Interns can receive up to 3 units per quarter or 2 units per semester with the UC Davis Arboretum. For more information on our internship program, click here: Internships at the UC Davis Arboretum.