Programs & Events



Help us to accomodate you!
Call 802-229-6206 for more info and to pre-register


Robin’s Nest Nature Playgroup                         
Mondays, November 20 - December 4th, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  
This in an outdoor playgroup for parents, children, and children ages 0-5. Join us for 2 hours of  spontaneous play, exploration, discovery, song, nature  inspired art, and oral storytelling. This playgroup offers a community experience that models ways in which the    natural environment can be used as a tool for child-led learning and play. Donations welcomed.   *This playgroup is based entirely outdoors. Please be prepared with water, snack, and warm clothing that is suitable for getting wet and dirty!

Robin’s Nest Nature Playgroup
Mondays: December 4, January 8 and 22, and February 5 and 19,
from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m, Donations are welcome.
This winter Robin’s Nest will continue to run, although less frequently than in the fall and spring. This is an outdoor playgroup for parents, caregivers, and children ages 0-5. Join us for 2 hours of spontaneous play, exploration, discovery, song, nature inspired art, and oral storytelling. This playgroup offers a community experience that models ways in which the natural environment can be used as a tool for child-led learning and play.
*This playgroup is based entirely outdoors. Please be prepared with water, snack, and warm clothing that is suitable for getting wet and dirty!

Winter Owl Exploration
Saturday, December 9th, 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Fee: $10 member, $20 non-member
Owls are some of our most beloved, yet seldom seen birds. In this outing, we'll discuss how and where to search for owls, and how to do so ethically and safely. Of the seven owl species that can be regularly encountered in Vermont, the migratory Short-eared Owl is one of the most sought after by birders. Early winter is a great time to search for Short-eared Owls at Dead Creek WMA, where they can be found hunting over large open fields at dusk. Afterwards we will visit nearby spots in search of Northern Saw-whet, Eastern Screech, Long-eared, Barred, and Great Horned Owls. Pre-registration is required and the event is limit to 20 participants.

57th Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, December 16 - Plainfield/Montpelier region
Tuesday, December 26 - Hunger Mountain region
For over a century, thousands of birdwatchers nationwide have donned snow boots and binoculars to scour their hometowns to document and enjoy resident winter birds. This annual tradition has become a powerful tool for understanding the rise and fall of bird populations over time. This winter, join us for one of the oldest (57 years and counting!) counts in Vermont. Beginners welcome! Learn more

Thunder Beasts and Swamp Donkeys
Naturalist Journeys Lecture
Friday, January 12, 7:00 pm, at NBNC. Admission by donation.
Bison, moose, wolves, and bears are entangled in a delicate dance of ecology and conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Witness grand migrations, life, death, struggle, and survival in this photographic odyssey to the wildest of the west with Staff Naturalist Sean Beckett.

Climate: Seasonal Changes of Vermont Flora
Naturalist Journeys Lecture
Friday, January 26, 7:00 pm, at NBNC. Admission by donation.
Josh Halman, Forest Health Specialist with Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation. The timing of budbreak in the spring and development of fall color are highly dependent on light and temperature. As our world warms this timing is likely to change, and we have already seen the impacts in Vermont. This talk will present findings from over 25 years of monitoring forest trees and plant life in the state.

Superbowl of Birding XV
Friday, January 26 to Saturday, January 27. Leaving Friday from NBNC, at 5 p.m.
Winter’s premier birding competition is back! Past NBNC’s youth and young adult teams have tallied nearly 100 species in this adventure to the New Hampshire and Massachusetts coast, including gems like Razorbill, King Eider, and Snowy Owl. For any interested teens - let us know early if you’re interested in joining the team. Beginner birdwatchers and naturalists welcome!

Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes
Wednesday, January 31, and Saturday, March 3. 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Members $5, nonmembers $10.
Under a full moon and surrounded by sparkling snow, let’s snowshoe by lunar light! Night activities will illuminate how wildlife survives the long nights of winter. Snowshoes and hot chocolate provided.

Great White Sharks in our Backyard
Naturalist Journeys Lecture
Friday, February 2, 7:00 pm, at NBNC. Admission by donation.
Spend an evening with Shark Biologist, Lindsay Graff as she discusses the re-emerging population of Great White Sharks that are returning to our New England waters. Learn about their vital importance to our marine ecosystems, and why we need to be supporting shark science and conservation efforts. Go beyond the misguided portrayals, and learn why we should be excited to welcome these apex predators to the neighborhood!

Ice On Fire
Sunday, February 4. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Suggested Donation is $5/family, $3/adult, and $1/child.
Come one, come all to Ice on Fire, a celebration of the warmth of community in the depth of winter with song, theater, stories, winter games and great food. It begins at 2 p.m. with a puppet processional parade and opening ceremony calling in the four directions, and closes at 5 p.m. with a bonfire. Volunteers needed.

Arctic Lessons: Images From a Polar Frontier
Naturalist Journeys Lecture
Friday, February 9, 7:00 pm, at NBNC. Admission by donation.
Montpelier teacher and Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Susan Koch will share her images and experiences from a journey to Arctic Svalbard on National Geographic’s “Explorer.” Join Susan as she offers impressions and lessons about Arctic wildlife and sea-life, polar ice, and the impact of climate change on this remote area. All ages are welcome!

Birding North of the Border
Saturday, February 10, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Grab your binoculars and passport on this day trip over the border in search of Quebec’s rare winter birds. The Montreal region regularly hosts exciting boreal and subarctic treasures like Great Gray Owls, Snowy Owls, unusual gulls, and vagrant waterfowl. Our targets will vary based on conditions and recent sightings, but good fun and tasty poutine is guaranteed.

Winter Wild Edible Workshop
Saturday, February 17, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Fee: $30 member, $35 nonmember.
For those willing to get a little frosty, bundle up and join teacher naturalist Ken Benton as we learn to identify and sustainably harvest a variety of wild foods from the surrounding landscape. We’ll bake with spruce, fir, and pine needles and sip on an assortment of wild winter teas as we cook a wild harvested winter stew over an open fire.

Geology of the Winooski Valley
Naturalist Journeys Lecture
Friday, March 2, 7:00 pm, at NBNC. Admission by donation.
Norwich University geologist George Springston takes us on an illustrated journey through the Winooski River valley, exploring how ancient oceans, continental collisions, rivers, and glaciers have all led to the landscape that we live in today.

North Branch Trekkers & Explorers After School Programs
Wednesdays, March 7 to May 30, 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fee: $410 (includes $200 deposit)
Every Wednesday after school, students can join North Branch Explorers (1st - 3rd grade) and Trekkers (4th - 8th grade) as we immerse ourselves in the mysteries of the natural world, practicing outdoor living skills such as tracking, foraging for wild edibles, camp cooking, building shelters, telling stories, playing games, and much more. Our adventures will be crafted from the curiosities of the children, allowing them to develop a sense of place while exploring the landscape through direct interaction and play. With wonder we'll wander!

Cape Ann Coastal and Pelagic Birds
Friday, March 9 to Saturday, March 11.
Leaving Friday from NBNC at 5 p.m.
Cape Ann, Massachusetts, is a worldwide destination for winter seabirds. We’ll join a morning pelagic boat trip with expert guides in search of hard-to-find offshore regulars like Razorbills, Dovekies, Murres, Kittiwakes, Scoters, and even Skuas. Our search then continues from land as we canvas the coastline for rare sea ducks and gulls in the afternoon. Sign up early, as space is limited!

Winter Birding in the Champlain Valley
Saturday, March 17, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Champlain Valley is one of New England’s best inland destinations for March birding. We’ll search Lake Champlain and surrounding habitats for ducks, eagles, gulls and other early spring highlights.

cockoftherockAmazing Ecuador: Birding in Paradise
March 18 - 31, 2018
Price: TBA
Spend 14 days birding in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Over 1,500 species of birds call Ecuador home, including a whopping 134 hummingbird species alone. We will cover everything from the paramo grassland above tree line to lush tropical rainforest, visiting renowned birding areas including Yanacocha, Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Cabanas San Isidro and Guacamayos Ridge. We pay a special visit to Paz de las Aves, where Andean Cock-of-the-Rock display and several species of antpitta show up looking for a handout of worms every morning. We will also descend into the lowlands, where we’ll   travel by boat from Coca, down the Napo River to the remote Sani Lodge. With birds like the Shining Sunbeam, Sword-billed Hummingbird and Toucan Barbet, we will truly be birding in paradise! Please contact Chip at chip@NorthBranchNatureCenter.org for more information.

NBNC to the Wild West: Yellowstone's Bears, Wolves, and Birds
May 25 - 31 2018
Fee: $2,525.
On this week-long, small group safari into the heart of the wild, find out why the 18-million-acre Greater Yellow Ecosystem has been hailed as "America's Serengeti," and "The Land of Fire and Ice.”
One space left!

Please call 229-6206 for more info and to register

What's Next


Forest Preschool

Forest Preschool

NBNC is proud to announce that we will be offering a Full-time Forest Preschool
for the 2017-18 school year.

Click here for more information
To register, click here


Trekkers & Explorers After School Programs
Wednesdays, through December 6, 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Every Wednesday after school, students can join North Branch Explorers (1st - 3rd grade) and Trekkers (4th - 8th grade) as we immerse ourselves in the mysteries of the natural world, practicing outdoor living skills such as    tracking, foraging for wild edibles, camp cooking, building shelters, telling stories, playing games, and much more. Our adventures will be crafted from the curiosities of the children, allowing them to develop a sense of place while exploring the landscape through direct interaction and play. With wonder we'll wander!

(Learn more about Trekkers)


Chestnut-sided WarblerBuy "Bird-Friendly"

Order your bird-friendly coffee through NBNC and save on shipping! You'll be supporting the Nature Center, the birds, and the farmers who grow this sustainably produced product. All orders can be picked up from the Nature Center. Click here to download an order form.


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North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206
info@northbranchnaturecenter.org

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
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