Natural History

59th Annual Plainfield Christmas Bird Count – The Results!

Pouring rain, icy roads, and thick fog tested the endurance and commitment of the 45 birders who joined this year’s Plainfield Christmas Bird Count. Despite the foul weather, birders managed to turn up 4,079 birds of 39 species at feeders and forests of Middlesex, Marshfield, Barre, and everything in between. While Saturday’s list came in…

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The Herb Garden at NBNC

By Claire Gilbertson, VT Master Gardener Following a suggestion from Chip Darmstadt, director of the North Branch Nature Center, the Master Gardeners developed an herb garden for the pollinators this year We followed the 1851 “Catalogue of Medicinal Plants, Barks, Roots, Seeds, Flowers and Select Powders….” published by the United Society of Shakers, New Lebanon,…

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The Nature Of: Monarch Butterflies

By Ken Benton, NBNC Teacher/Naturalist The old sheep field that comprises the majority of the NBNC property comes alive every summer with the sweet scent of blossoming flowers and the squeals of joyful children stalking the field with butterfly nets. Common Ringlets, Northern Crescents, and Clouded Sulphurs frequently flutter about the swinging nets, but the…

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Wanna-Bees

This is the first in a series of posts celebrating our native insects and pollinators. Come to BugFest on June 30th to learn more! Feature photo by Bryan Pfeiffer You know a bee when you see one, right? Think again! We’re hardwired to recognize those yellow and black stripes when we see them. But most…

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NBNC goes to Yellowstone

(Photos by Kate Taylor and Sean Beckett) By Kate Taylor, NBNC Yellowstone Participant “Open the hatches and get up there. Now!” It was dawn on our 5th day in Yellowstone and we were driving into the Lamar Valley. I was still in a sleep stupor, but we’d been with Sean long enough to recognize that…

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Conserving Pollination

By Sean Beckett, NBNC Staff Naturalist (Banner image: Baltimore Checkerspot; All imagery by Josh Lincoln) An act of clever deception is one of the most important things in the world. And that act may be in peril. Just like animals, plants reproduce by mating. More precisely, the pollen from one flower must land precisely on…

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