Upcoming Programs and Events
Call 802-229-6206 for more info. Pre-registration required for most programs.
Schedule subject to change. Please check in regularly for additions and changes.

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!

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 26th to Saturday, January 27th. 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! Info and Registration
Fee: $175 ($160 for youth 12 and under). Includes lodging and transportation.

Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes
Wednesday, January 31st, and Saturday, March 3rd. 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. More info and Sign-up

Great White Sharks in our Backyard
Naturalist Journeys Lecture
Friday, February 2nd, 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 4th. 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 10th, 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. Led by NBNC educator and expert birder Zac Cota. Transportation not provided, but we will coordinate carpooling.
Fee: $45 NBNC members, $60 non-member. More Info and Registration

Evening Program: "Tracking Tips and Tales from the Trail"
Thursday, February 15th, 7:00 p.m.
The lives of our wild neighbors are written across the landscape for those who learn the language of tracking. This talk will offer a deep dive into the process of interpreting the tracks and sign of our local mammal species. Through photos and videos, we'll build an understanding of track morphology, gaits, and habitat needs of the animals you'll encounter in winter. You'll walk away knowing what questions to ask to decipher your next trail, plus tips and tricks to take your tracking to the next level. Presented by Sophie Mazowita, founder of the Burlington Tracking Project and trackingVT.org.
Admission by donation at the door ($5-10 suggested).

Winter Wild Edible Workshop
Saturday, February 17th, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
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.
Fee: $30 NBNC member, $35 non-member. More Info and Registration

Winter Wildlife Tracking Workshop
Saturday, February 24th, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Learn to identify tracks and sign of winter wildlife. Practice interpreting the clues in animal tracks and trails to reveal exciting tales of life, love, and survival in the Vermont woods. Read the fascinating stories written by our local fauna in the February snowscape. This program is led by Sophie Mazowita, Level III certified tracker, educator, and founder of Tracking Burlington.
Fee: $30 NBNC member, $35 non-member. More Info and Registration

Geology of the Winooski Valley
Naturalist Journeys Lecture
Friday, March 2nd, 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 7th to May 30th, 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!
Fee: $410 (includes $200 deposit)

Cape Ann Coastal and Pelagic Birding Trip
Friday, March 9th through Sunday, March 11th
Leaving Friday from NBNC at 5 p.m.
Cape Ann, Massachusetts, is a worldwide destination for winter birds and birders. We’ll head out on a morning pelagic boat trip with expert guides in search of hard-to-find offshore regulars like Razorbills, Dovekies, Murres, Kittiwakes, Scoters, and Skuas. Our search then continues from land as we canvas the coastline for rare sea ducks and gulls in the afternoon. Coastal birding will continue Sunday, and we'll arrive back in Vermont on Sunday afternoon. Led by NBNC naturalists and educators Sean Beckett and Ken Benton. Sign up early, as space is limited!
Fee: $495 (single occupancy is an additional $75). Includes all lodging, all transportation, and boat fees. More Info and Registration

"Salamander Sky" Book Launch
Saturday, March 10th, (@ NBNC, time TBD)
Join us in celebrating the publication of the new picture book, Salamander Sky, written by Katy Farber and illustrated by Meg Sodano. Every spring, the first steady, warm rain brings the migration of thousands of spotted salamanders to ponds and pools, often across busy roads. Salamander Sky features a mother and daughter who go out on a rainy night to help the salamanders cross the road safely. This dramatic, full-color, picture book introduces the reader to the elusive spotted salamander and the perilous nighttime journey that takes place every spring. Amphibians worldwide desperately need protection. This book is a valuable tool for getting children engaged in conservation. At this event you'll also learn how to get involved in amphibian monitoring work at NBNC and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Winter Birding in the Champlain Valley
Saturday, March 17th, 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.
Fee: $35 NBNC members, $50 non-members. More Info and Registration

Amazing Ecuador: Birding in Paradise
March 18th - 31st, 2018
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@NorthBranchNatureCenter.org for more information.

Amphibian Monitoring Public Training Night
Wednesday, March 21st, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Salamanders and frogs migrate by the thousands from forests to wetlands each spring, often crossing our roads at great peril. These seldom-seen amphibians radiate charisma, color, inspiration, and moxie on even the rainiest April nights. But they need our help! Join NBNC and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for this evening presentation about our local amphibians. Learn how you, your family, or your students can find and enjoy these cryptic migration corridors safely. Find out about ongoing amphibian research at NBNC and VCE, and how you can get involved with amphibian citizen science. Free!

Botanical Illustration Workshop
March 22nd and March 29th, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Would you like to learn to draw plants? Curious about botanical art? Join us for this two-part workshop on botanical illustration. The first class covers careful observation of plant shapes and details, and translating these to the page in an initial detailed pencil drawing of your subject. The second session covers illustration techniques for pen and ink, including stippling and cross-hatching, and completing our botanical illustrations using ink. A small materials fee covers fine drawing paper, pencils, and multiple options of art pens. Led by plant ecologist, floral designer, and flower farmer Eva Dannenberg Alexander. Fee: $45 members, $55 non-members (plus $15 per person materials fee). Ages 14 and up. More Info and Registration

"Timberdoodling" at NBNC
April 8th, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
It's spring and love is in the air! We will listen and watch for the mesmerizing courtship flight of the American Woodcock (a.k.a. Timberdoodle), which nests along the North Branch of the Winooski near our nature center. With luck, we may also be serenaded by Wilson's Snipe and a chorus of Spring Peepers. This springtime spectacle has awed nature lovers across the northeast for centuries. Familes welcome!
Fee: $5 NBNC members, $10 non-members (paid at the door). RSVP requested but not required.

Digital Nature Photography 101 Class
Four sessions:
Wednesdays, April 11th, 18th, and 25th 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 5th, 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
New to digital photography? Eager to capture better images of the natural world? In this hands-on series, develop the foundations of a well-rounded nature photographer. We’ll explore composition, artistic technique, exposure, lighting, camera skills, and equipment settings. The perfect course for those curious about f-stops, shutter speeds, and the mysterious buttons on your new camera.  Learn how to use your camera to develop a deeper connection with nature, while building the technical skills to dramatically improve your photography. Limited to 12 participants.
Fee: $85 NBNC members, $105 non-members. More Info and Registration

"Reading the Landscape" Workshop
Sunday, April 22nd, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Location TBD

Discover how to “read” old forested farmscapes and agricultural architecture to trace 300 years of land use history in Vermont. Stone walls, cellar holes, old roads, and other mysteries “lost” in the woods reveal stories of the families who shaped the landscape as we see it today. Answer questions like who lived here? How did they dress? What did they eat? What did they do for a living? In this fusion of natural history, cultural history, and forensics, participants will develop the ability to interpret cultural imprints encountered in the Vermont woods. Led by Historic Preservationist and landscape historian Samantha Ford and NBNC Staff Naturalist Sean Beckett.
Fee: $40 NBNC members, $50 non-members. More Info and Registration

Friday Morning Bird Walks
April 27th thru June 1st 7:00 - 8:30 AM
Join us for weekly trips to birding hotspots around the Montpelier area searching for spring migrants like warblers, vireos, thrushes, and waterfowl. Practice your birdwatching skills in this group setting led by NBNC's expert birders and naturalists. Locations TBD. RSVPs requested but not required.
Fee: Free for NBNC Members/$10 for non-members (paid at the door)

“birds, words and notes” A Celebration of the World Around Us in
Poetry, Reflection and Music

April 27, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Scudder Parker: Poetry
Bryan Pfeiffer: Reflections
Ruth Einstein and D. Davis: Standards and Original Compositions on Violin and Guitar.
This event is a fundraiser for North Branch Nature Center, and is part of Kellogg-Hubbard Library’s PoemCity, an annual celebration of National Poetry Month.
Everyone welcome. Admission by Donation. at North Branch Nature Center

Boreal Birding in the Northeast Kingdom
April 28th 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Deep in the boreal forests and bogs of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom lurks a suite of charismatic yet elusive bird species found nowhere else in the state. On this pre-black-fly season adventure through the Kingdom, we'll visit birding hotspots in search of the "Boreal Grand Slam:" the Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, and Spruce Grouse. Departing via carpool from NBNC.
Fee: $35 for NBNC members/$50 for non-members. More Info and Registration .

Birding Basics Class
Four sessions: April 29th, May 6th, May 20th, June 10th
Become a better birder! In this class, you’ll develop a breadth of knowledge and skills to better appreciate Vermont’s common and not-so-common birdlife. Identify species from sight and sound by scrutinizing field marks and decoding birdsong. Understand avian ecology and interpret behavior by exploring a wide range of habitats and natural communities. Participate in Vermont bird conservation by immersing in local avian research programs. Whether you are a backyard birdwatcher ready to expand your knowledge, or a passionate naturalist seeking a fun new approach to field ornithology, this course is the perfect primer for better birding in Vermont. A total of 20 hours of instruction. Limited to 10 participants.
Fee: $95 NBNC members, $110 non-members. More Info and Registration

The 2018 World Series of Birding (for teens)
May 10th-13th
For 24 hours each May, competitive birdwatching teams from across the nation descend upon the forests, fields, and shores of Cape May, New Jersey, to record as many bird species as possible. Vying for birding fame and glory, teams turn leave no Turnstone unturned, and no warbler un-watched. This event is both a riotously fun adventure, and an excellent way to hone your birding skills. After a several-year hiatus, NBNC is bringing a team to represent Vermont in the competition’s High School division. Open to all interested teen birders and naturalists regardless of experience!
Fee: TBD.

Birding Paddle on the Missisquoi
May 12th, 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with North Branch Nature Center and the Friends of the Missisquoi by paddling through the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in search of neotropical migrants and spring waterfowl. We'll likely encounter eagles, osprey, terns, orioles, tanagers, warblers and more as we canoe and kayak through 5-6 river miles of Northern Vermont's premier birdwatching destination. Over 150 species have been seen in Vermont's wildest, most expansive river delta and floodplain forest. A trip for all ages. BYOB: Bring Your Own (non-motorized) Boat. Meeting at the launch on Mac's Bend Road in Swanton, VT.
Fee: $10 for NBNC members/$15 for non-members. More Info and Registration

Spring Wildflower Workshop (with the Green Mountain Club)
Wednesday, May 16th 5:30 - 8:00 PM.
As Robert Frost wrote, “Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower, But only so an hour... So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.” After months of black, grey, and brown, we will search the Waterbury-Stowe valley in search of Vermont’s first spring colors. Learn how to identify common ephemeral wildflowers, and explore the fascinating ecology of early-season flora. Join NBNC's naturalist on this program hosted in partnership with our friends at the Green Mountain Club. Location TBD in the waterbury/stowe area.
Fee: $25. Registration opening soon at the Green Mountain Club

NBNC to the Wild West: Yellowstone's Bears, Wolves, and Birds
May 25th - 31st 2018
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.” Full! Learn More and join the waitlist today. Fee: $2,525.

"Winged Warbler" Quest
June 2nd, 6:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Blue-winged and Golden-Winged Warblers rank among the most elusive and threatened nesting warblers in the northeast. They flummox ornithologists with hybrid wardrobes and confound birders with mismatched songs. This adventure with NBNC birding experts brings us to tangles, thickets, wetlands, and woodlands on a quest to decipher and demystify these enchanting and spunky songbirds. Meeting location TBD.
Fee: $20 NBNC members, $30 non-members. Info and Registration coming soon.

Mountain Birding on the Long Trail (with the Green Mountain Club)
June 9th, 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Ever wonder what birds you've encountered on your journeys through the Green Mountains? Join NBNC's naturalist us on a hike to identify and learn about the most common and intriguing birds encountered along the Long Trail. We’ll meet a variety of species across a range of ecosystems and elevations, with the ultimate goal of reaching the alpine habitat of Vermont’s most threatened bird, the Bicknell’s Thrush. Hosted in partnership with our friends at the Green Mountain Club. Meeting location TBD.
Fee: $40. Registration opening soon at the Green Mountain Club

What's Next

Forest Preschool

Forest Preschool

NBNC is proud to offer 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

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
Directions to the Nature Center
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