Experiences in Conservation, Outdoor Education and Living History 

The Cradle of Forestry’s education programs are designed to get students outside and investigating their National Forests. All programs include hands-on activities that reinforce the programs’ theme and utilize our interpretative hiking trails. We are currently offering educational programs and tours to groups with up to 20 people. Masks are required during the duration of the program. All programs and tours are about 1.5 hours long and take place entirely outdoors along our trails and open spaces.

Reservations are required for all guided education programs and tours. Please click the link to fill out our Program Request Form and a member of our education team will respond with scheduling information.

Program Request Form

Option 1 – Our trained educators lead our programs
•$5.00 (use fee + program fee) per student
•Free for all accompanying teachers and chaperones
Adult programs and tours are $8.00 (use fee + program fee) per adult

Option 2 – Self-guided visit
•Free for youth ages 4 to 12
•$6.00 for 13 years old and older
•$6.00 use fee per chaperone

Day of Payment is preferred, however invoicing is available. Checks should be made out to: CFAIA

Option 1: Education Programs with a Science Focus:

Bogs, Bugs, and Beavers (suggested age group: 4th grade & Up): Examine wetland ecosystems of the Pink Beds valley with a guided hike to areas of past beaver activity. While discussing positive and negative consequences of change, we’ll explore and learn about aquatic life, mountain bogs, forest succession, and beavers. Bring shoes that can get wet and muddy.

Designed for the Forest (suggested age group: 4th and 5th Grades): Learners will walk our Forest Festival Trail (1.3 mile), learning about local wildlife, their habitat needs and what biotic and abiotic elements make up the forest ecosystem. This program involves storytelling and playing some games along the trail to learn more about local animal adaptations.

Forest Festival Trail- Guided Tour (suggested age group: middle school through adults): This 1.3 mile trail explores Dr. Schenck’s forestry experiments, a portable saw mill, and a logging locomotive that students can climb aboard. The trails stimulate discussions about ways of living, habitat, how plants grow, succession, energy cycling, and forestry concepts. Great for adult groups too!

Getting to Know Trees (suggested age group: 3rd grade & Up): Learners will walk our Forest Festival Trail (1.3 mile), learning along the way about what trees need, how they grow, and how to identify different species.

Option 1: Education Programs with a Social Studies Focus:

Biltmore Campus Trail- Guided Tour (suggested age group: middle school & Up): This 1 mile trail passes seven historical buildings, including a schoolhouse, commissary, and student quarters. Visitors will learn about the beginning of the Biltmore Forest School in 1898, the community that was living here at that time and the effects on forestry in the area. Great for adult groups too!

The Great Wagon Road Game (suggested age group: 3rd grade & Up): Learners will become immersed in the early 1700’s when European settlers first settled in WNC. Students will play an interactive role-playing version of the “Oregon Trail” game of their teacher’s youth. The Cradle of Forestry has brought the game to life along our Biltmore Campus Trail (1 mile). This interactive walking game takes you around the trail to learn more about the trials and tribulations the first European settlers faced as they traveled the Great Wagon Road and settled our beautiful mountains. Learners will travel in “wagon groups”, “purchase” supplies (no real money involved in the game) for the journey and stop to roll the dice of destiny that will choose their cards of fate.

Option 2: Self-Guided Visit

Interpretive Trails (1 hour each) – Walk on two 1-mile paved interpretive trails.

  • The Biltmore Campus Trail passes seven historical buildings, including a schoolhouse, commissary, and student quarters. The trail stimulates discussions about forestry, the Biltmore Forest School, life in the early 1900’s, Appalachian culture and traditions.
  • The Forest Festival Trail explores Dr. Schenck’s forestry experiments, a portable saw mill, and a logging locomotive that students can climb aboard. The trail stimulate discussions about ways of living, habitat, how plants grow, succession, energy cycling, and forestry concepts while you enjoy the forest at your fingertips.