Nature gives us so much, sometimes it’s good to give back. Since 1970, that’s been the spirit behind For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum. With 383 acres of carefully preserved Michigan flora and fauna and one of the state’s finest collections of rare trees, For-Mar is where Michigan goes to learn about — and from — the best of the world around us. For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum, because some things are worth preserving. Turns out, they’re just around the corner. At your Genesee County Parks.
2142 N. Genesee Road, Burton, MI 48509–1209
Click here for driving directions.
Forbes and Martha Merkley Visitor Center
The Visitor’s Center is open Wednesday - Sunday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm The grounds are open Wednesday - Sunday from 8:00 am—sunset. The grounds and building are closed on Monday and Tuesday. The Visitor’s Center will be open on December 24 and December 31, but will be closed on December 25 and January 1. The grounds will remain open Wednesday - Sunday, even on holidays.
For-Mar is a 383-acre nature preserve and arboretum with 7 miles of hiking trails. Jogging and biking are permitted on the gravel service drive only. Pets are not allowed.
For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum-Cross Country Skiing is permitted under a pilot program suspending the rule on conditions and letting users determine when conditions are appropriate. Policy will be reviewed annually. Park hours are 8 a.m. to dusk for cross-country skiing.
For-Mar also has a designated picnic area. A trail signage project was completed in 2008.
For-Mar's gift shop. The Nature Nook, is open during regular Nature Center hours. Items like t-shirts, plants, animal guidebooks, children's activity books, educational toys, and souvenirs are sold in the gift shop..
For-Mar host a wide variety of educational programs both public and private. All public programs can be found on the Genesee County Parks Calendar, click here.
Private programs are available for all ages and abilities. Onsite program rates start at $1.50 per person for naturalist or horticulturist led hikes. Group field trips are $3.00 per person for half-day programs (2 hour in length) and $5.00 per person for full day programs (2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon). Fees may vary for workshops and specialty programs.
In-school program information can be found under the For-Mar on the Road section.
For-Mar offers a wide variety of private programming opportunities including: scouting outings, school field trips, preschool programs, summer camp day trip, monthly special-needs classes, senior outdoor living programs and birthday parties. For more information on some of these programs click here.
There is a non-refundable cancellation fee of $10.00. Payment is due the day of the program. Please call 810.789.8567 or 810.736.7100 for hours and programs.
There are five different types of backpacks that are free to enjoy for up to two hours with an adult's valid driver's license or State ID.
Michigan Naturalist Back Pack
Features pocket guides for trees, plants, mammals and birds, as well as binoculars, activity sheets and checklists.
Basic Birding Backpack
Contains adult and child sized binoculars, beginners guides, an electric bird song identiflyer, activity sheets and checklists.
Insect Investigator Backpack
Includes a magnifying jar, a port-a-bug barn, pond net, easy to use identification guides, activity sheets and checklists.
Active Living Backpack
Comprised of animal and yoga guide, jump rope, exercise band, trail map, hand weights, and activity sheets. Walking sticks and yoga mats are available for check out with the activity living backpacks.
Our newest backpack contains binoculars, winter field guides, winter activity books and a reminder to always have water available when hiking.
Also available for check out are our Snowshoes for kids and adults and our walking sticks.
Programs usually range from $5–$10 per person and pre-registration may be required. For program reservations, call 810.736.7100, ext. 6. Workshops usually range from $10 and up. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. For workshop reservations, call 810.736.7100, ext. 6.
For wedding inquiries, call 810.789.8568.
A walk-through is required prior to making wedding reservations. If you would like to download our wedding brochure, click here
Gardens/Grounds Facility Fee:
Weekday Price - (for weddings up to 50 people)
$125; $125 security deposit required
Weekday Price - (for weddings between 50 and 200 people)
$250; $250 security deposit required
Weekend Price - (for weddings up to 50 people)
$200; $200 security deposit required
Weekend Price - (for weddings between 50 and 200 people)
$400; $400 security deposit required
*Increased costs are to cover expenses accrued by the GCP Ranger Division during these events.
Additional fee for use of tent during event
$100; $100 security deposit required
This fee allows the renter an additional 2 hours of time at the Gardens for tent set-up / break-down.
Visitor Center Auditorium Fee:
$100 not-for-profit organization; $100 deposit required
$150 for-profit organization $150 deposit required.
Refund Policy for Programs Requiring Pre-Registration and Facility Rentals;
50% refund 72 hours prior to the event. No refund after 72 hours.
Rentals are only available during regular business hours, Wednesday-Sunday 8am - 5pm.
Weddings can be booked Wednesday - Sunday and can be held from 8am-sunset, May 1 through October 31.
No weddings over 200 people will be permitted at For-Mar.
For-Mar On the Road: Nature Programs and Truck Farm
Nature or horticulture based programs, presentations and workshops can be tailored for any kind of group, including scouts, schools, senior citizens, special needs audiences, churches, preschools, home school groups, etc. Staff can provide these programs at For-Mar or off-site. There is no charge for a general parks information presentation.
Truck Farm is a mobile garden and is used for For-Mar On The Road horticulture programs. Turtle mobile is used for For-Mar nature programs.
$70 minimum charge for all programs (this includes 1 hour drive time and 1 hour presentation).
$35 additional fee for every hour over 2 hours.
Additional mileage fee will be included for all out-county programs (mileage fee assessed using the current Federal IRS mileage rate).
Workshop supply cost, where applicable, will be charged on a per-person basis.
Cancellations made at least 72 hours in advance of the program will not be assessed any charges.
Cancellations made less than 72 hours in advance will be assessed a $35 cancellation fee.
There is a non-refundable cancellation fee of $10.00. Payment is due the day of the program.
Non-profit Group Pricing Schedule (schools, preschools, and special needs audiences):
We prefer to do single-group sized presentations as the interactive programs are best with no more than 33 participants. There is a 66 person maximum per program.
Thanks to the generosity of the Ruth Mott Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and the Stella & Frederick Loeb Charitable Trust, Genesee County Parks will offer its 10th year of fun and FREE For-Mar On The Road in-school programs to 3rd-5th grade classrooms. And… added new this year, a FREE program for 6th—8th grade students! For additional information on the free programs click here.
For additional information on Outreach Programs click here or contact Karen Palmer at 810.789.8567 or email at email@example.com.
Adopt-a-Garden: Various gardens at For-Mar as well as various other County Parks are available for adoption. Spring and fall clean-ups are essential along with bi-weekly visits for routine maintenance. Training will be provided. Call 810.789.8567 for information.
Other opportunities: Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, including but not limited to, Bluebird counts, invasive plant removal, Visitor's Center greeter, etc. Call 810.789.8567 or 810.789.8568 for information.
Internships: For-Mar has 4 internship opportunities; Naturalist Intern, Environmental Education Intern, Horticulture Intern and Animal Care Intern. Specialty internships can be designed to meet the interest and need of the facility. To learn more about these internship opportunities click here or contact the Head Naturalist, Nicole Ferguson at 810.789.8567 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information. College/University credits may be available depending on school.