Fall Events- Visit the ODL

We love to welcome families to the Outdoor Lab on Weekends.

Come see what your APS students are raving about.  Enjoy the fresh air, immerse yourself in nature, and relax in the mountains.

We’re only 45 minutes from Arlington.(directions here)  Pack a lunch and plan a family activity.

Fall 2021 activities are below.  Due to COVID, we need all visitors to register via Eventbrite.  (check back for links to each event below.)

ODL @ the ArlCo Fair 2021

Visit the Outdoor Lab’s Booth (M13) at the 45th Annual Arlington County Fair starting Friday August 20 at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and surrounding grounds, at 3501 2nd Street S.

After your Goat Yoga and before the Pig Races, cool off inside and visit the Outdoor Lab Booth!

Join us at the Arlington County Fair:

  • Fri   August 20 4p – 10p
  • Sat  August 21 10a – 9p
  • Sun August 22 11a – 7p

ODL supports LGBTQ+ Pride

The Arlington Outdoor Education Association (AOEA) supports the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month!

The Outdoor Lab is welcoming to All Students and Families, no matter their sexual identity or orientation.

Please join us in celebrating and advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community in Arlington and our world.

Sat June 5th- ODL CampIN!

The 2nd Annual Great Outdoor Lab CampIN!

Join us on Saturday, June 5th 5-8pm for the Great Outdoor Lab CampIN! Set up a pillow fort inside your home, or set up a tent in your yard.

We know the Outdoor Lab Camp-Out is a highlight for our 5th Grade Students. Since we can’t host them at the Lab this year, we wanted to share the fun — virtually — with everyone!

How to participate:

Make your plans for camping indoors or outside in your yard — planning is half of the fun!

    • What supplies do you need? Flashlights? Pillows? Sleeping bags or blankets?
    • How can your family pitch in to help?

JOIN US! Tonight from 5-8pm check our stream on Facebook to see how the Outdoor Lab celebrates the CampIN with snacks, games, and campfire stories!

    • What might you see and hear during your campIN? Check it out!
    • Dust off your best campfire stories and get ready to share with your family!
    • Visit the Outdoor Lab Trade Secrets page — we’re letting our secrets out for a limited time!

SHARE WITH US!!!  We want this to be a community event and to share (virtually) in the fun with you!

    • We’re using DropEvent for you to share pictures of you and your crew in the Great Outdoor Lab CampIN!
    • Ask an adult to share pictures to the Outdoor Lab’s FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages!
    • However you choose to share, remember to use #CampIN
Have a last minute need- Shop Local

Need new batteries for your flashlight or lantern?  Or a tarp or rope?  Local Arlington stores have all the supplies you need, check some out below:

Casual Adventure

A long-time supporter of the Outdoor Lab, and owned by an APS Family, Casual Adventure has everything you need for backyard camping, scouting or big adventures.

AAPI Heritage Month @ODL

This May, the Outdoor Lab and the AOEA celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

With staff and directors with AAPI heritage in our families, we’d like to honor all Asian American and Pacific Islander families, their contributions to science and education and the building of our nation. 

In this time of violence against AAPI individuals and communities, we stand together with all who speak out against hate, bigotry, and exclusion.

Open House- Sat May 15th 10a-4p*

The Outdoor Lab Open House is scheduled for Sunday October 17th 10a-1p OR 1p-4p.  

The Outdoor Lab welcomes all Arlington Families to the Open House. Grab your “pod” and explore our 226 acres of mountain trails, meadows, streams and pond.  While at the Lab, your family can: 

  • fish in the pond (cane poles & worms provided!)
  • hike our trails (over 5 miles, various hiking abilities)
  • observe critters in our Nature Center (admission in small groups)
  • find a perfect spot for a family picnic! (bring your lunch!)
Get your Tickets!

Due to COVID, we need families to pre-register through Eventbrite here.

  • Please choose EITHER 10a-1p ticket OR 1p-4p ticket (NOT BOTH) This will allow us to meet COVID limits and allow as many families as we can.
  • Each ticket is for one Carload. Please do NOT register for a ticket for each person in your car.
  • Tickets are “donate what you can.” The Outdoor Lab is owned by the non-profit Arlington Outdoor Education Association (a 501c3, tax exempt organization)
  • We will create a waitlist if needed, if your plans change and you don’t plan to come, please let us know

For the Safety of Visitors:

  • all visitors must sign in
  • masks must be worn while inside and when social distancing is not possible
  • NO Dogs allowed
  • please leave only footsteps and take only pictures
Other Info

While at the lab, talk to AOEA board members about the upcoming capital projects or how you could volunteer.  We’re looking for additional board members and have lots of great projects on our plate! 

You can find Directions here, look for signs and volunteers on where to park.

Bad weather, check back here for cancellations or updates.  An Open House Rain Date has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday Oct 24th 10a-4p. 

We look forward to seeing you!  

Share your pictures and tag #LovetheODL 

Join the AOEA Board!

The Outdoor Lab is a partnership between the Arlington Public Schools (APS) and the non-profit Arlington Outdoor Education Association (AOEA).

  • APS provides the teachers, educational program and buses.
  • AOEA owns and manages the land and buildings as well as advocates for outdoor education, STEAM curriculum, and hands-on, experiential leaning.

We need  members of the Arlington community to step-up and help us in this critical time for educating our students.  We need Board Members for the AOEA!

Current and past Board Members have a variety of experience and skills.  Many are parents, teachers or staff of Arlington schools.  Others are scientists, marketing professionals, real estate agents/builders or consultants.  We need a variety of experiences to challenge our organization to improve and grow.

If you are willing to help Arlington children and the Outdoor Lab (or know someone who might) please contact Todd Parker the AOEA President to learn more about our Board of Directors at president@outdoorlab.org.  We will elect a slate of Directors at our annual meeting May 15th.

If you’d like to volunteer to help the Outdoor Lab learn more HERE.

 

APS cancels ODL Summer Camp 2021

On March 19th Arlington Public Schools department of Teaching and Learning sent out an APS School Talk Press Release email with plans for Summer School for 2021.

Included in those plans are the decision to Cancel Summer Camp at the Outdoor Lab.

We are saddened by this decision, but understand the need to offer additional instruction in core subjects for this disjointed year.

More information can be found on APS website here.

Women’s History Month @ODL

The Women who make the Outdoor Lab Great

Phoebe Hall Knipling

The Outdoor Lab owes its existence to Phoebe Hall Knipling. Her vision and determination that children should experience science first hand, led to the creation of the Outdoor Lab and other pillars of Arlington science education like the Brown Planetarium, Gulf Branch and Long Branch Nature Centers. Learn more from a recent story from Arlington Library’s Womens Work series.

Anita Knipling Scott

Phoebe’s daughter Anita has served on the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Lab for years. She’s continued to build on her mother’s vision and helped thousands of Arlington families experience the joys of the Outdoor Lab.

Recently, Anita was interviewed for the Biscuit Mountain Breakdown and shared some of the early history of the Outdoor Lab. Click here to listen to podcast “Walking Down Memory Lane.”

Michele Karnbach

Michele re-joined the Outdoor Lab staff in 2019 as its new Director. She’s guided the ODL through some of the most challenging months in its existence.

She has reorganized the Lab staff and operations, created new curriculum and lessons for synchronous and asynchronous learning, and launched a podcast as well as new weekend activities for families.
Michele is charting the Lab’s path for the next 50 years of the Outdoor Lab.

Kendra Liddicoat

Michele created the Biscuit Mountain Breakdown podcast and interviewed leaders in the field of outdoor education.  Such as Dr. Kendra Liddicoat who researches memories as outcomes for programs like The Outdoor Lab.  Learn about how memories are an important feature of what happens at nature centers and how we can use that research to improve our program.  Click HERE for Podcasts.

Hike the Outdoor Lab-Saturdays in March

Looking for somewhere to go on a weekend?  The Outdoor Lab invites members of the Arlington Community to hike our Biscuit Mountain trail every Saturday in March.  The trail takes approximately 1.2 hours to hike.  Sound like a good time?  Here are the details:

  • Sign up before you come.  (Click HERE for our SignUpGenius Page)
  • Each sign up slot admits one carload of people.
  • Sign up slots for morning OR afternoon.  Check the date and time carefully!  (show up at any time during your morning or afternoon window.)
  • No pets!  Sorry!
  • Masks are required when in the bathrooms and when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Follow the arrows to keep traffic flowing in one direction on the trails. This keeps everyone safe!
  • Protect the land by following the “leave no trace” philosophy. Dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, be considerate of other visitors, stay on trails, and respect wildlife
  • Release Form must be signed by all participants.  Find Release Forms HERE.  (Save time and fill out before you arrive.  We’ll have some on hand as well )
  • Check in with an AOEA board member before you get started.
  • Gates close at 4 pm sharp, don’t get locked in!

Every little bit helps!  To support the Outdoor Lab’s educational programs and help reach more Arlington students, a suggested donation of $20 per car is welcomed but not mandatory.  We can always use help collecting kindling, just leave neatly stacked by wood piles. (Thanks!)

So put on your hiking shoes, dress for the weather, and come and enjoy the beauty of The Outdoor Lab on a beautiful weekend in March!

Directions can be found on our website.  Click Here for DIRECTIONS