Mini-College Tours


Sign-up: Register for a tour from 8:00am to 2:45pm (before start of last Mini-College class session) at Tour Desk adjacent to Registration Desk. (Numbers are limited on some tours.)

Maps and Descriptions: Will be available on site at the Tour Desk.

Tour groups meet at 4:15pm: Look for a sign identifying your tour group in the courtyard in front of LaSells Stewart Center. You’ll be ushered to your on-campus location and carpools can be arranged for off-campus tours.


Woodlands Hike at Fitton Green Natural Area

Enjoy stretching your legs on a 1.2-mile loop trail in a beautiful upland prairie with some oaks and conifer forest. From the hillside are outstanding views of the Willamette Valley and into the coast range. Elevation gain is only about 180 feet on the earth and gravel trail.

Learn about interesting restoration projects in process to keep the meadow open, improve the habitat for endangered butterflies, and provide connectivity to similar meadows.

Even if the day has been warm, sea breezes often arrive from the coast in late afternoon. Consider bringing a jacket.

Parking is limited so we will carpool. Estimated trip duration is about 1 ½ hour (driving, hike, discussion). Trail is about 6 miles from OSU.

Tour Leader:  Janet Throop, Benton Co Master Gardener, Sierra Club Leader, member of Greenbelt Land Trust

Garden of Gentle Breeze ($5.00 entry fee), 26907 Sulphur Springs Rd, Corvallis 97330

This lovely peaceful green oasis is designed in the tradition of Japanese gardens. It was created with the assistance of a director of Landscaping for the Portland Japanese Gardens. Experience and enjoy the atmosphere of unaffected naturalness and tranquility. Water, earth, stone and leaf become one in this ten-acre land of wonder.

Parking is limited, carpooling suggested. Garden is 10 miles from LaSells Stewart Center. Estimated travel time is 22 minutes. Garden is open until 6:00 pm

Tour Leader:  Jay Gray, while an OSU student, spent a year in Tokyo. That experience together with several return trips to Japan, developed his lifelong dream of recreating Japanese gardens at his own home.

Thyme Gardens20546 Alsea Highway, Alsea, OR

The nursery and display gardens are tucked away in the mountains just a short drive from Corvallis. The drive alone is worth the trip, taking you past Mary’s Peak, the highest point in the Coast Range Mountains of Oregon.

Walk through beautiful display gardens that include over 700 varieties of useful herb plants from all around the world. This organic farm and family business offers lovely trails along a beautiful stream through an array of glorious gardens and amazing greenhouses. Organically grown herb plants and seeds, teas, organic honey, dried flowers, and recipe books are sold on site.

The garden is a 28-minute drive, 18 miles from LaSells Stewart Center. There is plenty of parking. Please arrive in time for a 4:45 start of the guided tour.

Tour Leader:  Rolfe Hagen sold his restaurant and started this eclectic, earth-friendly, family business in 1990. Driven by a passion for new and unusual herbs, together with a desire to add more to the environment than they take, they transformed an 80-acre farm into the Thyme Garden.

Gathering Together Farm25159 Grange Hall Rd, Philomath OR

This family farm is an enterprise in certified organic vegetable and fruit production that began in 1987. You will have the opportunity to tour their amazing green/hoop houses, and learn hear about how they choose the heirloom varieties they grow as well as the process for breeding organic, open-pollinated vegetable and flower seed for growing and sale.

The farm is a working example of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA is a grassroots movement bringing consumers into a closer relationship to their food producers. The farm produce is sold at nine farmer’s markets, as well as at the on-site Food Stand. The on-site restaurant serves homegrown fresh fruit and vegetables, and locally grown meat and regional seafood. Reservations for dining (541) 929-4270

The farm is a 13-minute drive, located 6 miles from LaSells Stewart Center, just south of Philomath

Tour Leader:  Rose Mahoney, GTF HR Coordinator

Vivacity Spirits: Tasting and Distillery tour, 720 NE Granger Ave #C, Corvallis

This small-batch, spirits-production business is the first woman-owned Micro distillery in the Willamette Valley (and on good authority is 1 of 5 nation-wide.) Not since the days of bobbed hair and bathtub gin have women played a role in the production of distilled spirits. Open for tasting, you can enjoy the expanded flavor experience of Vodka and Gin developed with new and interesting tastes, and crafted with locally sourced products. In addition to hand crafted spirits, the showroom also has local artisan work for sale. Caitlin Prueitt, owner, brings not only her passion for distilling, but extensive knowledge in the fermentation sciences with a degree from OSU and deep experience working in wineries, breweries, and lab settings.

The Distillery and tasting room are 14 minutes (6 miles) drive from LaSells Stewart Center. There is plenty of parking and it is open until 5:30 pm

Tour Leader:  Sam Bucks, Chief Instigator and Distiller’s Assistant


Peavy Hall - Northwest Native Tree/Shrub Tour

OSU Campus is home to many native trees & shrubs (including Oregon’s Moon Tree). This walking tour will focus on native plants located near Peavy Hall. This is a great opportunity to brush up on your ID skills.

Tour Leader:  Dr. Ed Jensen is the author of the beloved “Trees to Know in Oregon” and the recently-released “Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests.” Jensen is an Elizabeth P. Ritchie Distinguished Professor at OSU, where he has taught dendrology, forest ecology, international forestry, and natural resource education since 1976. Dr Jensen’s books will be available for sale during the tour.

Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture Tour

The Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture serves as a learning laboratory and demonstration site for sustainable horticultural practices in rural and semi-rural environments. The 6-acre site currently has a Mushroom Log Fence, Annual Trials to determine ornamental annuals to grow well in the Willamette Valley, an OSU Student Organic Garden, Permaculture projects and a streamside stabilization and Restoration of Oak Creek. You will view and learn more about these and other projects, at this dynamic and evolving site. If you visited Oak Creek a few years ago, you’ll be surprised to see the new projects that are in place today.

Tour Leader:  Cody Buckman is the Project Manager for the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture.

Honey Bee Biology--Laboratory Hive Tour

The OSU Honey Bee Biology laboratory keeps experimental hives out at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture. On this tour, you will see the “Living Bee Hive Museum”, a collection of hive architecture through time, from bee trees to modern hive design. You will also get an overview of OSU honeybee research. Learn about various types of nesting domiciles for solitary bee species, as well as bee hotels. Hear about the challenges and widespread colony losses facing the beekeeping industry.

Tour Leaders:  Carolyn Breece, Entomology Faculty Research Asst., and Dr. Mike Burgett, Professor Emeritus of Horticulture, will be your guides. This dynamic duo will talk about the bee museum and OSU’s current apiary research.

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