North Branch Nature Center bug watch

Our 28 acres offer a wide menu of opportunities for Vermonters of all ages to play, study, and explore in nature!

North Branch Nature Center building

Thanks to capital campaign donors, our newly-expanded, net-zero facility features a beautiful community room with space for lectures, classes, art showings, meetings, and community gatherings.

North Branch Nature Center bug watch

Visit our new platform, NBNC Online, to access to all of our COVID-adapted programming and resources.

Visit our new platform, NBNC Online, for access to all of our COVID-adapted programming and resources.

North Branch Nature Center kids

Our distinguished nature-based education programs immerse children in extraordinary learning environments with an acclaimed, innovative teaching team.

North Branch Nature Center river

As Central Vermont’s headquarters for natural history education, we offer expert presentations, field trips, and seminars to enrich your understanding of the natural world.

North Branch Nature Center beaver

From amphibian monitoring to bird research, North Branch Nature Center studies and protects local wildlife with the support of passionate volunteer scientists.

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Connecting People to the Natural World

NBNC Online

Check out NBNC Online, our hub for COVID-adapted programming and resources for all ages, made possible by the support of our wonderful community. If you find these resources valuable, please consider making a donation. Thank you, and be well!

COVID-19 Program Adaptations and Expectations - Click to Open

In order to keep you, our staff, and our community safe, NBNC is adhering to strict safety protocols based on CDC and VT Department of Health guidelines. We’re in this together, so here’s what you can expect from us, and what we ask of you as a participant of an in-person NBNC program:

What you can expect of us:

  • Breathing Room: We’ve capped all our programs at 10-12 participants or fewer, and designed them to take place outdoors, with the exceptions of bathroom access, thunderstorm contingencies, and (in some cases) short-term use of the community room.
  • Cleanliness: All potential shared surfaces will have been sanitized before and after each program. No two programs will share the same indoor space (including bathrooms) on any given day. We’ll start each program with a briefing to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding behavior, expectations, masks, distancing, etc.
  • Professionalism: We have completed state-mandated safety trainings, established a staff/board safety committee and a COVID-19 Task Force, and are adhering to strict workplace guidelines to make sure we are taking appropriate measures to make NBNC a safe place to work, learn, and play.
  • Honesty: Our instructors will be following state safety guidelines, and complete health screenings prior to each program to ensure a healthy staff and a safe space for each program.
  • Respect: Our staff and instructors will wear a mask at all times (inside and outside), and maintain at least 6’ distance from all other people throughout all programs. 
  • Transparency: We want to make sure you are comfortable. If you’ve got questions or concerns about our programs and policies, please reach out to us at [email protected].

What we ask of you:

  • Honesty: Do not come to the program if you are feeling ill in any way. You’ll be asked to sign a waiver and health screening document upon arrival acknowledging that you are symptom-free and haven’t been at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus recently. If you develop COVID-like symptoms within 14 days after the program, notify NBNC immediately.
  • Respect: Wear a mask at all times (inside and outside), during NBNC programs. Maintain at least 6’ distance from all other people, including staff, during the program. Follow all safety guidelines explained by our staff.
  • Cleanliness: Sanitize bathrooms and other common surfaces before and after use, according to our guidelines posted in each space. Bring and use hand sanitizer, and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Flexibility: Please understand that programs may be cancelled on very short notice, and that our protocols are continually adapting to best available science and expert recommendations.

Thank you for your support in keeping our community safe!

North Branch Nature Center connects people with environmental education, natural history, and community science. More than 10,000 people visit NBNC to be in touch with the sights, sounds, and sensations of the natural world.

Our 28-acre preserve of forest and fields is nestled in a gentle bend of the North Branch of the Winooski River, just two miles from downtown Montpelier. NBNC is the delight in the eyes of children as they watch fireflies in a field.  NBNC is a group of naturalists exploring the secrets of warblers and willows. And it's a quiet place to walk or ski, swim or sit, or simply relax beside the river. There is much to explore. Please join us.


NBNC News Watch

Naturalist Journeys Online 2020-2021

Naturalist Journeys is back for its 25th season with this fall/winter online presentation series featuring biologists and explorers from around the country. Tune in live via Zoom or catch the recordings afterwards. Thanks to our sponsors: Hunger Mountain Coop, Onion River Outdoors, Union Mutual, GreenVest, and Capitol Copy. More Info

Adopt an Owl

Support scientific research at NBNC by adopting an owl! An excellent birthday or holiday gift, our owl adoptions come with a beautiful certificate with the band number and measurements of an owl caught, tagged, and released by NBNC staff. If your owl is ever re-captured anywhere in North America, you'll receive notice of your adoptee's whereabouts. More Info

ECO Homeschool Program

Knowing that more students are learning from home this school year, we are launching our new ECO Homeschool program. The woods and fields of NBNC will be our classroom, where students will learn by doing, using all five senses to engage with the landscape through standards-based lessons led by our ECO Teacher-Naturalists. More Info and Registration

Diversity and Equity at NBNC

Our staff and board have been listening, learning, and discussing NBNC's role in perpetuating systemic injustice in our society, as well as how we can begin to play a role in dismantling injustice. We invite you to read our letter addressing our perspective on the intersection of nature and justice in our community. The Imperative of Diversity and Equity

Robins Nest

The River's Edge Blog

A Porcupine in the Classroom

By Zac Cota, NBNC Teacher-Naturalist   The first and second graders at Moretown Elementary know they share their forest with many other animals. Chickadees sing ...
Read More

Outdoor Educators Share Tips for Learning in Nature

We invite you to check out this great article in KidsVT by Heather Fitzgerald, interviewing several outdoor education organizations, including NBNC, about new opportunities for ...
Read More

Moths of Cloud Bridge by Maya Akazawa – An Online Art Exhibit

In celebration of National Moth Week (July 18-26), we're delighted to host this "e-opening" of Moths of Cloud Bridge, a multimedia collage and embroidery exhibit ...
Read More
Robins Nest

More about North Branch Nature Center

Robins Nest

Our Land Acknowledgement

North Branch Nature Center acknowledges that we reside upon the traditional and unceded home of the Western Abenaki People. These lands and waters have been a site of meeting and exchange among Indigenous Peoples for thousands of years. North Branch Nature Center honors, recognizes and respects the Abenaki as the traditional stewards of this landscape. We strive to respect and protect the land within our use, while continually honoring the legacy of Vermont’s Indigenous People, the Abenaki People of the Dawn.

duckflying 1@1.5x-8

NBNC Capital Campaign Update

We're in Phase 3!

(Paused due to COVID-19)

$331,674 left to raise

Learn More about the Capital Campaign

Connecting People to the Natural World

North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206
[email protected]

Office Open Monday-Friday from 9 am to 4 pm
Trails Open 24/7