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Under the Smoke: Boreal Forest Wildfire, Ecology, and Culture in Northern Quebec with Naomi Heindel (IN-PERSON)

January 26 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

RESCHEDULED to Friday, January 26 | 6:30 – 8 pm | FREE | IN-PERSON at NBNC
Part of the Naturalist Journeys 2024 Winter Presentation Series

Tickets Required – Register Here

Remember this summer when all the headlines were of pictures of New York City (and Vermont!) looking smoky? That smoke came from unprecedented wildfires in Canada, and specifically from an area of northern Quebec known as James Bay. The vast boreal forest there is an ecosystem that depends on and is adapted to wildfire, so in many ways the fires this summer were important, natural ways that the boreal forest remains diverse, nutrient-rich, and healthy. But there was a lot more going on under all the smoke this summer, including climate change, the impacts of decades of intensive logging practices, and the intertwined lands and livelihoods of the James Bay Cree, the First Nations people who call this region home. In this Naturalist Journey, we’ll pay a visit to the boreal forest, learn some fire ecology, take a look at the wildfires’ impacts on the James Bay Cree, and explore the complicated mix of climate change and logging at play in these forests.


About Naomi: Naomi Heindel, North Branch Nature Center’s Executive Director, has been paddling and researching on James Bay Cree land for more than two decades. Her interest in the area started on canoe trips as a teenager, then grew to form the base of her undergraduate research, graduate research, several research trips, several guiding trips, a longform article in Northern Woodlands, and many other presentations and talks. Naomi joined NBNC in the spring of 2022 after seven years in Wyoming (another fire-dependent ecosystem!); she, her husband Jordan, and their two small kids live in Worcester, VT.

About Naturalist Journeys 2024: This year’s series focuses on climate change — but not in the ways you might expect. From beavers to sheep, forestry to fires, and music to mental health, we’ll explore unconventional approaches to safeguarding our planet, our landscapes, and ourselves in this climate crisis. The series runs January through March, with a mix of virtual and in-person presentations.

Tickets Required – Register Here

In-person presentations require free tickets. In-person events will also be livestreamed on our YouTube page.
No registration required for virtual events. All online events will be held via Zoom.

Naturalist Journeys is made possible by our sponsors:



Hunger Mountain Coop
802 Coffee
Onion River Outdoors

Washington Electric Co-op
Waite-Heindel Environmental
The Manghis’ Bread


January 26
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Categories:


North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
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