Good Life

Have you explored this unique section of The Arboretum at Penn State? Take a guided tour

On Sunday, you’re invited to explore a unique section of The Arboretum at Penn State with Centred Outdoors.

The Hartley Wood, a 43-acre tract of forest co-owned by Penn State and the Borough of State College, is home to some of our area’s oldest trees. More than two-thirds of Hartley Wood are occupied by a remnant of original, pre-settlement forest that’s home to several white oaks that are over 300 years old and a few hundred more trees that are over 150 years old. Participants will meet at the Overlook Pavilion to begin their guided tour of Hartley Wood. The guided walk will highlight the work being done in Hartley to reduce invasive plants in the area by students, volunteers and supporters who make these efforts possible as well as the effort to plant and maintain wildflower species native to central Pennsylvania.

Upon returning from Hartley Wood, wrap up your adventure with a self-guided stroll through The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens and special areas such as the Pollinators’ Garden and the Lotus Pool at the center of the Oasis Garden.

All are encouraged to stop by the Ridge and Valley Sculpture adjacent to the Overlook Pavilion, near the main entrance of The Arboretum. Here you can walk around a 924-square-foot map of the entire Spring Creek Watershed. When it rains, the runoff from the roof of the Overlook Pavilion drains onto the map and flows along the carved waterways to illustrate how the watershed really functions. The impressive sculpture created by Stacy Levy depicts the mountain ridges and streams that define our region and offers a truly original perspective on how we’re all connected by the land, waterways, communities, and ecosystems that make up the Spring Creek Watershed. This educational piece of art was funded by Marie Bednar and one of ClearWater Conservancy’s greatest friends and inspiring leaders, Don Hamer.

Planning to attend this week’s adventure? Here’s what you need to know:

When: 2-5 p.m. Sunday; Guided tours begin at 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Where: The Arboretum at Penn State, University Park

Parking: Parking is available at The Arboretum’s free lot along Bigler Road. Pick up a parking pass at the office door at the Overlook Pavilion when visiting on weekdays between 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

What to bring:

  • A refillable water bottle

  • Sun protection including a hat and sunscreen

  • Comfortable walking shoes. Please note: Due to recent rain, trails may be muddy.

  • Insect repellent

Difficulty of hike: This is an easy hike with very little elevation change that will cover approximately 1.5 miles and take about 1.5 hours to complete.

Additional Information:

  • While pets on a leash are permitted in Hartley Wood, they are not permitted in the gardens.

  • Visit for complete event details

Next week’s adventure: May 26 from 2-5 p.m. at the Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor.

Coming up: On Sunday, June 2, the public is invited to a free Get Outdoors Family Fishing Picnic from 2-6 p.m. at Tussey Mountain, co-hosted by Spring Creek Chapter Trout Unlimited and ClearWater Conservancy. This event marks the official kick-off of summer and will feature fishing, food, children’s activities, fly casting stations, kayaking, and an easy hike through Galbraith Gap trails. (visit to register).

Centred Outdoors will host free, guided adventures to Centre County residents and visitors every Sunday from 2-5 p.m. and every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. June 9 through Aug. 6. The finalized schedule can be seen at, where users can log in to create their own profile, RSVP, and receive weekly emails about each event. While online registration is not required, it is the best way to receive event updates. Look to the Centre Daily Times every week for complete details about the upcoming Centred Outdoors destination.

Jon Major is the communications strategist for ClearWater Conservancy.