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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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 with the Natural World

(March 24 2021 update)

In order to keep you, our staff, and our community safe, NBNC is adhering to strict safety protocols based on CDC, Vermont Department of Health, and Vermont Agency of Education 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 primarily outdoors.
  • Cleanliness: All shared surfaces will have been sanitized before and after each program. 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) when not able to 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 indoors, and outdoors when unable to maintain at least 6’ distance from all other people (guidelines may be different for children Pre-K - 6th grade). Follow all safety guidelines explained by our staff.
  • Cleanliness: Sanitize bathrooms and other common surfaces 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.

These protocols are continually adapting to adhere to federal and state guidance. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

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.

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NBNC News Watch

Summer Educator Institutes with NBNC

Our Educator Institutes provide week-long nature immersion courses for preK-6th grade and 7th-12th grade teachers, assistants, and administrators.  Our institutes feature inquiry-based, outdoor learning through intensive experiential lessons, activities, and discussions. Move beyond the classroom and engage with nature as a learning partner, incorporating VELS, NGSS, and Common Core into the design of nature-based curricula. Learn More

NBNC's 2020-2024 Strategic Plan

We're pleased to announce our newly published 2020-2024 Strategic Plan! Thank you to everyone who helped us shape the trajectory and priorities of North Branch Nature Center as we look to the future.

Biodiversity University 2021: Registration open!

Biodiversity University offers in-depth nature study taught by the region’s finest experts and educators. Our students are weekend naturalists, working ecologists, and anyone with an insatiable drive to understand the pieces and patterns of our wild world. Spend a weekend or a week this summer immersed outdoors in a learning community of like-minded nature lovers. Learn More

Missed a presentation? Catch the recording!

As we wrap up an amazing winter presentation series, we invite you to check out the recordings over at our presentations page for programs ranging from bird comics to whale acoustics to owl ecology to deserts. Catch the recordings!

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The River's Edge Blog

Moving class outside: Decades-long movement gets boost from pandemic

By Laura Nikolaides (reposted from https://lauraniko.medium.com) "Maria Libby had always wanted to make outdoor education a fundamental part of the school district she runs near ...
Read More

The Plainfield Christmas Bird Count: Reflections on 60 Years of Birding

The Christmas Bird Count is a global community science project organized by the National Audubon Society. At 121 years old, it is the longest-running project ...
Read More

Owl Season Recap: new friends, old friends, and 312 sharp talons in 2020

By Sean Beckett NBNC Director of Natural History and Community Science Programs The Northern Saw-whet Owl migration season is over, and results are in! Our ...
Read More
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More about North Branch Nature Center

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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 this land, while continually honoring the legacy of Vermont’s Indigenous People, the Abenaki People of the Dawn.

NBNC's Land Acknowledgement is a first step in our work to recognize  the imperative of diversity and equity in our community. This statement is the beginning of a conversation to address and honor the Indigenous Peoples who lived on this land for hundreds of generations. 

Vermont’s Abenaki Bands

Each of Vermont’s Abenaki communities hosts a rich website full of information on the tribe history, traditions, language, stories, governance, education, events, and much more.

Elnu Abenaki Tribe: Elnu is an Abenaki Tribe based in Southern Vermont. We work to continue our cultural heritage through historical research, lectures and school programs, oral storytelling, singing, dancing and traditional craft making. Our primary focus is ensuring that our traditions carry on to our children. We are traditionalists trying to maintain our culture in a modern society. Learning from the past creates a better future for all.

Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe: The mission of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation is to strengthen our government; to build our community, and ensure sustainability; to protect our customs and traditions; and to revive our culture and celebrate our heritage while sharing it with those around us. N’dakinna (our homeland) is nestled among the lakes, rivers, and forests of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Our connection to this land cannot be described in any language. It is our birthright and obligation to advocate for our ancestral territory so that its uniqueness and beauty will be protected for the generations to come.

Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation: The Koasek Abenaki is an autonomous band of Abenaki families of what is now called the Western Abenaki Tribes, which have been recognized by the State of Vermont. The Koasek Abenaki people are the native inhabitants of central and northwest New Hampshire and northeast and central Vermont.

Abenaki Nation of Missiquoi: The Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi is a Native American Tribe and First Nation located in Swanton, Vermont. The Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi mission is to engage in efforts which will promote and sustain a strong, healthy, and united community for the members of the Abenaki Nation. It is further our purpose to improve the quality of life for the tribal members we serve by identifying, addressing, and working to decrease gaps in service and treatment across the spectrum of health, human, and social services.

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NBNC Capital Campaign

The Final Phase!

Thanks to hundreds of donors like you, the Capital Campaign has moved forward despite the pandemic.  In late 2020 we added a beautiful new entrance sign, and the farmhouse was weatherized and received much-needed exterior renovations. In February, 2021, we began the final building construction phase: renovating the farmhouse interior, which includes creating a library/meeting room and completely renovating the kitchen to better serve our programs, festivals, and rentals.

We have $77,000 left to raise for the last campaign phase: construction of two new kiosks, improvements to our trails, and the creation of a fully accessible trail. Thank you for making a gift here to help us cross the finish line in 2021!

$77,000 left to raise

Learn More about the Capital Campaign

Connecting People with 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