Programs & Events



Field Day


Fall & Winter 2015

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


Robins Nest Nature Playgroup
Mondays, starting Sept. 14, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Fee: free, donations welcomed
Robin’s Nest Nature Playgroup offers parents, caregivers and children ages birth to five an opportunity to play outside and discover the sights, sounds, and sensations of the forests and fields at the NBNC. Guided by the idea that children need to spend ample time outdoors, we offer a community experience in the world of nature and will model ways the natural environment can be used as a tool for learning and play.

Bats, White-nose Syndrome, and Citizen Science
Thursday, November 19, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Come learn about Vermont’s nine species of bats, including fascinating facts about their biology and behavior, with Alyssa Bennett of Vermont Fish & Wildlife. Hear about White-nose Syndrome, how our various species are doing, and research, conservation, and recovery efforts. Then find out how citizens in Vermont are helping bats and learn what you can do in your own backyard.

55th Plainfield Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, December 19, 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.      
Fee: free
We will scour the greater Montpelier area for every bird we can find, leaving no chickadee uncounted in our attempt to “census” birds in central Vermont. From Snow Buntings to Pine Grosbeaks, there are always surprises on the Plainfield CBC. Join for part or all of the day and no prior experience is required. We assign you a territory or team you up with other birders. Potluck and tally of results will be held at the Grace Methodist Church in Plainfield. Pre-registration is required for this count.

Winter Whispers
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, January 5 - February 17 (7 weeks) 9 am -12 pm
Fee: $280 for 1 day or $530 for 2 days
Winter Whispers is a drop-off program for ages 3.5 to 6 that supports children’s innate curiosity and individual learning process through play, art, and exploration of natural world in the frosty months of January and February. Children will spend a portion of every morning outdoors discovering winter's many wonders. In addition, our program offers time to cozy up indoors for winter related stories, songs, art as well as exploration of Vermont wildlife’s winter habits.Registation is now open! Email Emily Sloan or call to register.

Homo naledi: A New Human Ancestor from the Cradle of Humankind
Friday, January 8, 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier
In 2013, six women scientists squeezed through the twisting passages of Rising Star Cave, ‘South Africa, descended to a depth of 100 feet, and there excavated over 1,500 fossils from a previously unknown human ancestor. Join Jeremy DeSilva, Dartmouth College Anthropology Professor, for this riveting talk.

Starry, Starry Night
Friday, January 15, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
(cloud date - Saturday, January 16)
Fee: $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers.
Come explore the planets and the moon, seek out nebulas and galaxies, and learn the constellations of winter. We’ll view the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades, and maybe even the Crab Nebula through a telescope. Dress warmly, bring the whole family, and be prepared to be dazzled by the winter night sky. Pre-registration is not required.

Naturalist Journeys
Naked in the Canyon

Friday, January 22, 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier
Suggested donation: $5
On this journey through a billion years of the Earth's history, you'll see oceans rise and recede, a desert turn to stone, and the continent's largest bird return from the dead. And in this massive canyon, this grand void, you'll even discover meaning in the world's smallest butterfly. With local naturalists Bryan Pfieffer and Ruth Einstein.

Full Moon Snowshoe Hike
Saturday, January 23, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Fee: $5 members, $10 nonmembers
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.

Ice on Fire
Sunday, January 31, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Suggested Donation: $3 adult, $1 child, $5 family.
The bigger-than-life winter festival returns to the open fields at NBNC. Participate in wonderful winter activities including a parade, storytelling, winter games and outdoor theater, and a huge closing bonfire.

Naturalist Journeys
Polar Bear Wonderland

Friday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier
Suggested donation: $5
Hundreds of earth’s largest terrestrial predators converge on the Hudson Bay’s frigid shores for six restless weeks each fall. Join naturalist and expedition leader Sean Beckett on a photographic exploration of the ecology, culture, and uncertain future of the King of the Arctic.

Naturalist Journeys
Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave

Friday, February 26, 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier
Suggested donation: $5
When the great environmental writer, Edward Abbey, died in 1989 in Tucson, AZ, four friends buried him secretly, in a spot unknown. Author Sean Prentiss went looking for Abbey’s grave as a way to unravel the greater mystery of home.

North Branch Trekkers - After School Program
Thursdays, March 3 to May 26, 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Total Payment: $410 ($200 deposit). Scholarships may be available.
Students in grades 4 through 8 can join teacher-naturalist Ken Benton every Thursday afternoon as we explore the magnificent green spaces of Montpelier while practicing outdoor living skills such as tracking, foraging for wild edibles, camp cooking, wildlife monitoring and much more.  Based out of the North Branch Nature Center, we’ll make frequent hikes into both Hubbard and North Branch River Parks as we explore the woods to develop a sense of place and play games that will enhance our powers ofobservation as well as lay the groundwork for a positive relationship with the outdoors.  For more information, call 229-6206 or email Ken.

Forest Preschool: Spring session
Starting March 8th for 12 weeks.
Choose any one day (Tuesday-Friday)
OR 2 days (either Tuesday/Wednesday OR Thursday/Friday)
Fee: $480 for one day, $910 for two days. Scholarships may be available.
Enrollment opens December 7.
Forest Preschool is an outdoor, exploratory, play-based program for children ages 3.5 to 5 that empowers children to be active in their own learning process, while providing them the means to connect to one another and the natural world in a caring way. The Forest Preschool program is almost exclusively outdoors except in the case of extremely cold temperatures or thunder and lightning. For more information, email Mary at .

Please call 229-6206 for more info and to register

What's Next

Winter Whispers

winter whisper

A drop-off program for ages 3.5 to 6
Tuesdays and Wednesdays
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
starting January 5


Learn More

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.

Texas Birding Adventure!

Friday, April 15 to Saturday, April 23, 2016

VEFLThe Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is home to an
incredible diversity of birds, with the breeding ranges of many just barely extending their range into the US. From Aplomado Falcon and Buff-bellied Hummingbird to Vermillion Flycatcher and Green Jay, we’ll see resident species and well as northbound spring migrants.

And there’s always the chance for the unexpected – Varied Bunting, Masked Duck, Crimson-collared Grosbeak – the list goes on. We will visit legendary birding locales, as well as some off-the-beaten track spots, in our week-long (plus) tour of southern Texas.

Cost: $2,200 (double), $2,500 (single); meals and airfare not included. Itinerary (subject to some change):

Day 1 & 2 - McAllen/Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Day 3 - Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Day 4 - Sabal Palms in Brownsville and Estero Llano Grande Day 5 - Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park
Day 6 - Salineno, Chapeno and Falcon Dam
Day 7 - Falcon Dam State Park
Day 8 - Frontera Audubon Center and environs

Contact Chip at or call 802-229-6206 for more information.

Make an Online Donation
and learn more ways you can support NBNC


North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206

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