ECO Camp at Home

Online 'Summer Camp' with NBNC for preK - 3rd grade

Dear Camp Families,

We are very sorry to report that NBNC’s Board of Directors, in consultation with NBNC staff and our COVID-19 task force, have decided to cancel our 2020 Summer Camps. 

As an organization devoted to connecting people with nature, NBNC has always carefully considered the risks and benefits of various activities, always with a primary focus on protecting the health and safety of our campers, their families, and our staff.

As you know, Governor Scott recently decided to make camps allowable this summer. However, under the current circumstances, including the state’s recommendations for continued social distancing, we are simply not confident that we can adequately ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our hundreds of campers and our staff.

We know how much your kids love camp, and how much they need it — more so this year than ever.  We also understand that most parents depend upon camp in order to work, knowing that your kids are being cared for while they learn and have fun.  Please know that there is nothing our staff would rather do this summer than romp in the fields and woods with your kids, teaching them about salamanders and how to plant trees, and returning them safely to you — muddy, exhausted, and happy — each afternoon. 

Though there is no real replacement for camp, we are exploring several alternatives to help you and your children enjoy the outdoors this summer. Please stay tuned.

We hope that you are holding up ok in this unprecedented situation. We would love to hear from you if you have feedback about this decision or our other programming, either by email or via the form above. We look forward to reconnecting with you and your children in the near future. 


Chip Darmstadt
Executive Director

F or 24 years, Summer Camps at NBNC have offered a fun and safe place for children to immerse in nature through observation, questioning, and hands-on exploration. We know that your children need to connect with nature now more than ever. With that in mind, we present ECO Camp at Home. These online summer programs offer themed weekly bundles packed with videos by naturalists, stories, songs, activities and explorations for your child to do outside.  For over ten years, our ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) program has paired NBNC Teacher-Naturalists with public school teachers to create weekly nature-based learning opportunities for their students. ECO Camp at Home packages those experiences specifically for families.

ECO Camp At Home Preview


More About ECO Camp at Home by NBNC

Each package includes a themed bundle of material containing a week of activities and enrichment. We've designed one set of packages for children entering PreK - Kindergarten and another for 1st - 3rd grade.  Each bundle consists of: 

  • A pre-recorded welcome message and invitation to the week’s material.
  • Songs to uplift the mind and heart.
  • Two pre-recorded oral stories told by one of our naturalists.
  • Five activities based on a weekly theme.  These activities will be mostly self-guided but some initial parental involvement may be necessary, especially with younger children.
  • Five Sit-Spot/Journaling prompts, designed to wrap up the day’s activities and build a sense of place.

Families with multiple children need only purchase one package per age group.

For a more in-depth explanation of the core routines that we follow,  Click Here.   


Refunds may not be granted for requests made after receiving access to the online content.


Camp is often the highlight of a child’s summer, an opportunity to learn and explore in an environment very different from school. Thanks to the National Life Group Foundation, our Campership Fund provides a limited number of partial and full scholarships, allowing families with limited means to send children to camp.

We are pleased to be able to extend these scholarships to our online ECO Camp at Home programs as well.

If you need financial support to enroll in a program, please contact us.


If you would like to help share the experience of camp or other Nature Center children’s programming with another child, please consider contributing to our Kids Need Nature Fund by contacting us.


Get ready to have fun, because summer field staff include some of your kids’ favorite year-round NBNC staff, Carrie Riker and Ken Benton!

About Ken:

Growing up in the Ohio River Valley, Ken spent nearly every waking hour outside.  Whether it was trailing whitetails through claypan forests, catching panfish in farm ponds, or getting lost while searching for trilobite fossils in the creek, all of his formative memories have come outdoors.  After receiving a B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University, he spent several years traveling the country, teaching environmental education through the Student Conservation Association and the Audubon Society.   Ken now has the honor of helping children form their own outdoor memories through NBNC’s programming. While Ken is not birding, hunting, or fishing with his son, he can be found foraging and creating delicious meals harvested from the wild.

About Carrie:

Carrie started her outside adventures making mud soup and cookies in her backyard treehouse in New Jersey.  She further perfected her creative concoctions with onion grass flavored pancakes served at the stone wall kitchen of her grandparents’ cottage in Connecticut.  Camping with Girl Scouts and lots of time with neighborhood children led to a BS in Early Childhood Education and Geoscience and teacher licensure. After some experiences with the Student Conservation Association and education programs reawakening youth to their earthly connections in South Carolina and Missouri, North Branch called her name in 1999 (and asked her to please live in the office for the summer!)   That experience helped her finish her M.S. in Environmental Studies from Antioch New England. She loves working again at NBNC leading ECO, afterschool programming, and summer camps. She has a great love for big and small nature moments, knows camp songs on just about every subject, and enjoys starting her day with tea on the porch with her four-legged companions. 

Our online camp activities are designed with minimal equipment so that all families can fully participate.  Most activities will utilize materials found in nature, typical household items, or repurpose materials out of the recycling bin.  Below is a list of optional supplies that would enhance your camp experience at home.  Please keep in mind that these materials are not required to complete the camp activities.

Supply Suggestions:

  • Bug box (or make your own!)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Water critter net
  • Butterfly net
  • Binoculars
  • Field guides

Woodbury Mountain Toys, one of our local Montpelier shops, is offering 10% off on nature exploration items if you say you are part of NBNC’s summer online program.


Click the button next to each program below to purchase. Each program must be purchased individually. After purchase, please check the email you provided in the checkout process for a link to the package materials. Make sure to check your spam or promotions folders if you do not receive this confirmation email. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

ECO Camps at Home for Preschool/Kindergarten

$50 per week

Nature's Canvas

Become an outdoor artist, inspired by summer’s beauty. Paint with mud, create with clay, build sculptures out of sticks, weave on a branch loom, and let your creativity flow.


Becoming Animals

Do you like pretending to fly like a bird or lumber around like a bear? How about chewing like a chipmunk or making nests like a bird? This week’s offerings give you a chance to let your inner wild animal out!


Bug Bonanza

Insects are everywhere! Fields, forests, in your backyard, in the park. There are more insects than people! You’ll learn the basics about this animal family, make homes for them, turn into them, and then go looking for these bountiful six-legged friends.


ECO Camps at Home for Grades 1 - 3 

$50 per week

Mini Monsters

Ever wonder how a fly sees, how water boatmen float, or why worms wiggle? Learn the secrets of these and other mini monsters as you explore the meadows, woods, and waters near your home.


Animal Engineers

From busy beavers damming rivers, to eagles building big aeries, to ants who farm their own food, animals are amazing engineers. Explore how animals craft their environment and then see how your human skills stack up while tackling some fun animal engineering challenges.


What Floats Your Boat

Cool off and explore all things wet and wild. This week we take a peek beneath the surface of rivers, lakes, ponds, and puddles and discover the creatures that lurk below. You’ll spend some time above the surface too, creating clever contraptions to ride the waves.


Connecting People to the Natural World

North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206

Hours: Center Open Monday-Friday 9-4
Trails Open 24/7