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June 2021

Paintings by Susan Bull Riley

June 15 @ 9:00 AM - August 26 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

This exhibit is a delightful mixture of moments in nature. A stroll through the gallery evokes the feeling of a summer walk through the Vermont countryside, with all that one encounters along the way. You’ll meet pitcher plants, apple trees, waxwings, and owls between sweeping views of the Worcester Range and quiet moments along a shady creek. These paintings reflect my desire to translate the intensity of my feelings for the natural world into images that speak to others.

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Forest Mosses – Biodiversity University

June 26 @ 9:00 AM - June 27 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$265

Instructed by Jerry Jenkins & Sue Williams | An introduction to the mosses of cold-temperate and boreal forests, emphasizing growth form, field characters, ecological patterns, and geography. Indoor sessions to learn the common species, field trips to locate them in the woods; lots of looking, comparing, drawing, discussing; an hour or two of stories about mosses and forests and the planet; a little microscopy to show you what the next steps look like.

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July 2021

Bedrock Geology – Biodiversity University

July 10 @ 9:00 AM - July 11 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$265

Instructed by Stephen Wright $265 | Full - Join the waitlist at the link below Financial Support Available | Prof. Dev. CEUs available. This course is designed to introduce participants to the geologic materials and processes necessary to understand the framework of northern Vermont’s geologic history. Multiple field trips will take students to areas where key aspects of the area’s geology can be observed. These field trips will introduce students to many of the different rocks underlying the area. Great…

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Old Growth – Biodiversity University

July 17 @ 9:00 AM - July 18 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$265

Instructed by Liz Thompson & Bob Zaino | Old forests capture a special place in our imagination, and they provide important ecological functions, especially in a changing climate. In this course, we will visit some of the few remaining patches of old forest in Vermont. We will start by considering the history of Vermont’s forests, and learn why old forests are now so rare on the landscape. We will discuss and explore the unique characteristics of old forests, and we will learn how to recognize old forests in a variety of ecological settings. We will identify indicator mosses and lichens, dig into the biotically rich soils, and use an increment borer to study tree rings. Finally, we will reflect upon the science and practice of conserving and restoring old forests in Vermont.

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Ferns & Lycophytes – Biodiversity University

July 24 @ 9:00 AM - July 25 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$265

Instructed by Michael Sundue | Ferns are our constant companions in the North Woods, yet many naturalists never get to know them due to their cryptic characteristics. In this course, we'll become familiar with ferns and their allies through an exploration of their natural history, evolution, and identification. Along with the other spore-dispersed vascular plants (horsetails, clubmosses, spikemosses & quillworts), ferns are the second largest group of flora on earth, exceeded only by the seed plants. We will explore this group's wonderful diversity in the field, investigate diagnostic features, then take a closer look under the microscope back in the lab.

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August 2021

Mushrooms – Biodiversity University

August 7 @ 9:00 AM - August 8 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$265

Instructed by Dave Muska | Mushrooms have fascinated and mystified humankind for ages. From ancient origin stories and shamanic practice to modern systematic analysis, fungi intrigue us culturally, medicinally, and scientifically. In this course, participants will explore the diversity and ecological importance of the kingdom of fungi. Over this two-day course, participants will learn the fundamentals of mushroom identification through a combination of classroom and field experience. Topics include fungi ecology, taxonomy, field identification, morphology, edibility, toxicity, fungi as medicine, bioremediation, utilitarian function, as well as ‘best’ harvesting practices. Participants will leave the course with the foundational knowledge necessary to successfully and confidently identify mushrooms, and enjoy a greater understanding of fungi ecology and life history. All skill levels and knowledge bases are welcome.

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Wetland Sedges – Biodiversity University

August 14 @ 9:00 AM - August 15 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$265

Instructed by Jerry Jenkins & Brett Engstrom | An introduction to the late-season sedges of marshes and shores, emphasizing structure, ecological requirements, and landscape patterns. Most sedges can be identified if you know where they live, what they look like, and what you need to see about them. This is direct identification—look, think, make your best guess, check pictures and characters if you have to... It is how we, and most professionals, identify sedges, and how we teach them.

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RiverFest

August 21 @ 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Cool off in the heat of summer at this community-wide, family-friendly river celebration! Visit each river access point at the nature center to partake in different activities and adventures along the North Branch.

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Coevolution with Tom Wessels – Biodiversity University

August 28 @ 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$125

This course will delve into the scientific principles of self-organization and coevolution. Specifically we will examine how self-organization works to create systems that are energy efficient, stable, and resilient. We will then examine how this process happens in ecosystems through evolutionary time via coevolution creating biologically diverse ecosystems with robust networks of mutually beneficial relationships. After gaining a theoretical foundation we will head into the field and examine numerous examples of coevolved, mutually beneficial interrelationships. We will then head back inside to discuss human systems from the perspective of coevolution to see ways we can create a far more sustainable future.

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September 2021

The Caterpillar Lab – Caterpillar Camps!

September 2 @ 12:30 PM - September 3 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$40

Two-hour camps | For children ages 9-13 | Perfect for homeschoolers | Take a journey into the incredible lives of caterpillars. Part living nature museum and part wildlife safari, this hands-on exploration with The Caterpillar Lab and NBNC staff brings kids up close and personal with some of the weirdest and wildest critters in the woods. We’ll hold huge caterpillars, play hide-and-seek with caterpillars disguised as twigs and bird poop, witness metamorphosis, and adventure through the fields and forests to discover specimens in the wild.

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The Caterpillar Lab – Moth ID & Natural History Workshop

September 3 @ 8:30 PM - 11:59 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$50

The Caterpillar Lab staff will lead participants on a tour of moth taxonomy, diversity, identification, and ecology in this special, small-group workshop for naturalists. We’ll begin with a classroom overview of moth morphology and strategies for learning to identify the bewildering diversity of moths in our region. We’ll also discuss the equipment, setup, and habitats that make for successful moth stations. As the moths arrive at the lights, we’ll practice identification while turning our attention towards the life history and ecology of some of the visitors. By the end of the evening, beginners will have the foundational knowledge to recognize major moth groups, while more experienced students will gain proficiency in species identification. All participants will leave with a renewed sense of awe and wonder, and many new examples of astonishing natural history found in our moth diversity.

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The Caterpillar Lab – Public Exploration Exhibit

September 4 @ 10:00 AM - September 6 @ 5:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$10

Caterpillars take over the Nature Center! Join The Caterpillar Lab for a journey into the incredible world of New England’s native caterpillars and their habitats. This hands-on, over-the-top exhibition features open-air displays where you’ll witness rare moments of metamorphosis, mimicry, symbiosis, birth, death, deception, and wonder in a program unlike anything else! CaterpillarFest is a casual, drop-in experience. Stay for ten minutes or four hours. Photograph the caterpillars, discuss gardening for insects, observe countless species, open up cocoons with staff, or just hold a really HUGE caterpillar—choose your own caterpillar adventure! There is something for everyone from young children to seasoned naturalists and professional biologists – if you are wondering if this exhibit is appropriate for you, the answer is YES!

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The Caterpillar Lab – Caterpillars for Educators

September 5 @ 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$50

Bring caterpillars into your classroom and your curriculum! This workshop for PreK-12th grade teachers is an exploration of caterpillar diversity and ecology, a workshop on keeping caterpillars in the classroom, and an exploration of curricular connections that use caterpillars to meet NGSS and proficiency standards. The Caterpillar Lab’s residency at NBNC is a museum, zoo, circus, laboratory, and classroom rolled into one and directed by world-class science communicators. This workshop promises bewildering stories of natural history and zoology, practical tools and technologies for working with caterpillars in the classroom and in the field, and a learning community of other biodiversity-loving educators.

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The Caterpillar Lab – Public Moth Lighting Night

September 5 @ 8:30 PM - 11:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
$10

With specialized light bulbs and a few white sheets, The Caterpillar Lab’s moth lighting station turns the NBNC quad into Vermont’s single greatest concentration of biodiversity for one special evening. The station will attract thousands of insects for us to enjoy and investigate, including hundreds of seldom-seen moth species decorated in ornate patterns and strange shapes. The Caterpillar Lab’s expert staff will guide us on a family-friendly tour of our awe-inspiring nocturnal neighbors, as we enjoy all the huge, tiny, regal, absurd, furry, shiny, gorgeous, perplexing, audacious and outrageous moths that Vermont has to offer!

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Cape May Birding Extravaganza

September 22 @ 6:00 AM - September 26 @ 6:00 PM
Cape May Point Cape May, NJ United States
$1750

Join Chip Darmstadt to explore this extraordinary birdwatching paradise during one of its most exciting times to visit. With over 430 total species observed, and over 330 species seen this time of year, Cape May is home some of the greatest avian biodiversity in the northeast. Early September in Cape May offers a bit of everything: migratory songbirds in the shrubs and forests, migratory birds of prey cruising overhead, and migratory shorebirds along the beaches and backwaters. Wading birds stalk the saltmarshes, while waterfowl and seldom-seen pelagic birds float on the open ocean. Though less than a day’s drive from NBNC, Cape May is a whole new and exciting world of birds rarely if ever encountered in Vermont!

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