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Beyond the gardens: Join Centred Outdoors on the trails of Hartley Wood

Get to know a lesser-known portion of The Arboretum at Penn State on Sunday and Wednesday during an adventure through Hartley Wood in addition to the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens.

Participants will meet at the Overlook Pavilion to begin their guided tour that will go beyond the gardens and on through the trails of Hartley Wood, a 43-acre tract of forest that is co-owned by Penn State and State College Borough. Three quarters of Hartley Wood is home to original forest with 300-year-old white oaks and many other trees that are 150 years old or older. The guided walk will highlight the work being done in Hartley Wood by students, volunteers and supporters to reduce invasive plants in the area.

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.

Centred Outdoors is hosted by ClearWater Conservancy and made possible by many partnering organizations that host this summer-long series of free, guided adventures for Centre County residents and visitors. Adventures take place every Sunday from 2-5 p.m. and every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. from now until Aug. 15. The finalized schedule is available 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 Good Life and every week for complete details about the upcoming Centred Outdoors destination.

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

What: Centred Outdoors: The Arboretum at Penn State

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

5-8 p.m. Wednesday. Guided tours begin at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Arboretum at Penn State, E. Park Ave and Bigler Road, University Park

Parking: You can park at the Arboretum’s lot along Park Avenue at no cost. Please pick up a parking pass on the office door at the Overlook Pavilion when visiting on weekdays between 7 a.m.-5 p.m. If the Arboretum’s lot is full during those hours, you may pay by the hour (for up to four hours at a time) to park in the lot of the nearby Lewis Katz Building by using an automated pay station in that lot.

What to bring:

  • A refillable water bottle

  • Sun protection including a hat and sunscreen

  • Comfortable walking shoes

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: Centred Outdoors’ final adventure for the summer will be at Black Moshannon State Park on Aug. 12 and Aug. 15.

Andrea Murrell is the strategic communications coordinator at ClearWater Conservancy.

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