Open House- Sat May 21st 10a-4p*

The Outdoor Lab Open House is REscheduled for Saturday May 21st 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!)
  • paddle the boats
  • hike our trails (over 5 miles, various hiking abilities)
  • observe critters in our Nature Center (maybe pet a snake?)
  • 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.  

We look forward to seeing you!  

Share your pictures and tag #LovetheODL

May 20th 4-8p Fundraiser OneMorePageBooks

Outdoor Lab Fundraiser at One More Page Books

On Friday, May 20, 2022 – 4pm to 8pm

Shop Friday, May 20th between 4pm and 8pm to support the Outdoor Lab! One More Page Books will donate 15% of all sales during those hours – in person and online – to the Arlington Outdoor Education Association.  Meet a great local business and support the ODL.

Browse in person:
One More Page Books (2200 N Westmoreland St, Arlington, VA 22213)
Share with your Friends and Family and #lovetheodl

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.

Spring Hikes at ODL- Saturdays

Come visit the Outdoor Lab with your Friends and Family this Spring.  (New Dates Added!)

Grab your “pod” and explore our 226 acres of mountain trails, meadows, streams and pond.

Here are the details:

  • Sign up before you come.  (Click HERE for our EventBrite 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.
  • 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 volunteer 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.

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

ODL celebrates Black History Month

The Outdoor Lab Board and Staff celebrate Black History Month throughout February and the entire year.

Last year we launched our Cultural History Project to research, document, and share the stories of ALL the families who called the Pond and Biscuit mountain gap home.  We continue to research African American families who worked and lived on Outdoor Lab and adjacent properties through Deeds and Census records.

On a visit to the Afro-American History Association of Fauquier County, Outdoor Lab staff learned that part of the Underground Railroad went through our property.  The oral history was that enslaved people escaping through Fauquier were told “Follow the Pine/Pond Mountains” to freedom.  The map shows the path along the Bull Run Mountains (of which our Pond and Biscuit are a part) to safety with Quaker supporters in Waterford.

We continue to partner with other researchers, families and organizations as we progress with the Cultural History Project.  Please check back to see our progress.  If you have an interest in helping please contact president@outdoorlab.org.

ODL Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

The Outdoor Lab staff and board celebrate Native American Heritage Month.  We reflect on the great contributions of Native peoples to our Commonwealth and Country and strive to learn and tell their stories of achievement.  The land of the Outdoor Lab was originally settled by Manahoac peoples, a Siouxan speaking tribal alliance, which descended from Mississippian mound building cultures.  They originally inhabited the Ohio River valley region, with one group migrating east, sometimes called the Eastern Sioux, and another migrating West.

The Manahoac had little interaction with the English colonists in Jamestown and were shielded by the Powhatan confederacy on the coast and Tidewaters.  In addition to diseases introduced by Spanish and English explorers, the Manahoac faced pressure from the Haudenosaunee confederacy (Six Nations of Iroquois) and Susquehannock tribes (Iroquoian speaking, also known as Conestoga) who raided their Piedmont homes. The Manahoac migrated South toward the related Monacan tribes and eventually merged with them and the Siouxan speaking Tutelo, Saponi, and Occaneechi.

What we have learned about the Manahoac culture comes from the few interactions documented by Europeans, often through translators from rival tribes,  and their archaeological record.  They were semi-nomadic and followed the animals they hunted including Deer, Bear, and Eastern Buffalo.  They generally settled near streams and rivers and built palisaded villages with small round or oval dwellings covered with reeds and bark.  They grew the Three Sisters of corn, squash and beans and managed their game lands by prescribed burning of forests.

In 1608,  colonist John Smith explored up the Rappahannock river to its headwaters and documented various tribes and settlements of the Manahoac.  Smith captured a wounded Manahoac warrior named Amorolec who told Smith about the tribes of the Manahoac, their enemies and related tribes who lived from the Fall Line up to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia’s rivers. The Whonkentia were settled in current Fauquier County and we can assume from artifacts found at the Outdoor Lab that other Manahoac tribes were living along Broad Run and its tributaries here at the present Outdoor Lab.

In 1754, Thomas Jefferson observed native peoples conducting ceremonies at a burial mound near his Monticello home in Albemarle County, Virginia.    He later dug into the mound and recorded his findings in an organized fashion as part of his Notes on the State of Virginia (1787).  Jefferson is recognized as an early archaeologist for this work.

The Monacan nation exists today and in 2018 became a federally recognized tribe with tribal land at Bear Mountain in Amherst County, Virginia.  The Monacan nation recognizes the Manahoac as part of their ancestors.  A living history presentation of a Monacan Village can be seen at Natural Bridge State Park.

The Outdoor Lab encourages you to learn more about the Manahoac and other native peoples and their rich history, culture and accomplishments in our history.

Oct 17th OPEN HOUSE 10a-4p*

The Outdoor Lab Open House is scheduled for Sunday October 17th 10a-1p and 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 October 24th 10a-4p. 

We look forward to seeing you!  

Share your pictures and tag #LovetheODL 

CasualAdventure Sock-tober for ODL

Casual Adventure, a long-time Outdoor Lab Supporter and an APS family, has chosen to donate 20% of their Sock-tober promotion to the Outdoor Lab.

Casual Adventure Outfitters is teaming up with @Smartwool and celebrating #Socktober by donating 20% of our sock sales to the @arlingtonoutdoorlab @apsvirginia.

So you can get great deals on great socks and support the ODL! Get your socks:

Get outfitted for your next Outdoor adventure and support the Outdoor Lab!

ODL celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

The Arlington Outdoor Education Association and the Outdoor Lab Staff celebrate national Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15 – Oct 15 annually)

We honor the many Hispanic Americans who have contributed to our schools, community and country.  And celebrate our Latinx students who contribute their talents, skills and culture in all schools every day.