COVID-19 and NBNC
July 7 Update:
North Branch Nature Center has been working with other nature-based education organizations to advise elementary schools on how to incorporate more outdoor learning in the school day. Please read our Outdoor Learning Position Statement.
July 1 Update
We have resumed limited in-person programming, including our Biodiversity University and ECO Educator Institute programs this summer, with some changes to our policies and expectations.
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 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.
April 14 Update:
We are pleased to announce that NBNC Online is now open and freely available to everyone in our community, thanks to the generous contributions to the NBNC Resiliency Fund, our urgent fund to keep NBNC operational and support our staff during these difficult times.
Our deepest gratitude goes out to all those who have made this possible. Thank you on behalf of all of us at NBNC for your help as we work hard to care for our community, and the natural world, in unprecedented times.
Please join us in celebrating this milestone by inviting your friends, families, colleagues, and community to visit NBNC Online and take advantage of the webinars, videos, songs, stories, and activities for all ages that our staff have been tirelessly developing.
If you have yet to contribute to our Resiliency Fund, please consider doing so. We still need your help -- we've reached the first landing, but there are a few flights left to go.
- NBNC programs have been postponed. This includes: Forest Preschool, Robin’s Nest Playgroup, ECO, Explorers, Trekkers, and all in-person lectures and fundraisers.
- We are working to move some programs online — including the content of our upcoming Amphibian Monitoring Volunteer Training (March 18). Stay tuned for additional online offerings to come.
- Our buildings are closed to the public and all facilities rentals are suspended.
- NBNC staff will be working almost entirely from our homes and/or outdoors. We will be conducting business online and by phone and mail. Please reach out with questions and concerns.
- The good news — and wow, do we all need a little good news right now: Our preserve and trails are open! We know how vitally important access to nature is for each of us in this stressful time. Please stay home if you are sick, and please (as always) keep your dogs on leashes.
Resources and Online Programming
Though our doors our closed, we will be doing our best to provide teachers, families, and community members with resources to continue engaging in our natural world virtually. Visit NBNC Online to see what we're working on!