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 

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

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 

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

ODL supports APS LoveTheBus

As APS plans to start Hybrid learning for all students, many families are again focusing on the bus drivers, crossing guards, and transportation staff that get students to school safely.

When students come to the ODL, we rely on our dedicated bus drivers to transport kids to the magic that is the Outdoor Lab.  The APS transportation team coordinates getting a bus and driver out to the Lab, usually between their normal school runs, every school day.  They transport every 3rd, 5th and 7th grade student to the Lab over the school year.

Without a bus and driver, students can’t get to the Outdoor Lab.  APS Staff and the Arlington School Board supported the funding of a daily bus to the ODL and added a second bus for 5th grade overnights.  (about 40 days a year)

Often, one or two drivers are assigned to the ODL for the year and they have gone above and beyond their normal driving duties to make sure students have a great experience.  Even after they retire, some still help at the Outdoor Lab.  Former APS bus driver Paul Diehl joined the AOEA board after his career driving students to the Lab and has worked tirelessly for the Outdoor Lab ever since.

Please join the Outdoor Lab, the AOEA and Lab Staff in thanking all bus drivers, crossing guards and transportation staff during the month long Crossing Guard Appreciation and Love the Bus campaign.

ODL@home- The Great Backyard Bird Count

Help scientists from home by participating in The Great Backyard Bird Count

Outdoor Lab staff have participated in such events at the Outdoor Lab and have documented a large variety of bird species.  When students are at the ODL, staff helps them identify birds by sight and sound.  Now you can help scientists from your own backyard!  Show us your favorite backyard birds. #GBBC #LovetheODL

From Audubon.org:

The 24th annual The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held Friday, February 12, through Monday, February 15, 2021. Please visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information and be sure to check out the latest educational and promotional resources.

The  GBBC is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.

Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the  National Audubon SocietyCornell Lab of Ornithology and Birds Canada learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Recently, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

 

Cultural History Project launches for Black History Month

As part of the Outdoor Lab’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, we’re launching a Cultural History Project during Black History Month.

The goal of this project is to research, document, and share the stories of ALL the families who called the mountain gap home..

On a visit with 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 Mountains” to freedom.

Recent research into our Land Records revealed the names of property owners of our parcels back to the founding of the Colony of Virginia.  These names are a key fact that kick started the research project.  By finding the families, we can reconstruct who lived on and worked the land through time.  We can then build the stories of these families through the artifacts they left on the property and ways they shaped the land.

We will 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.