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December 2020

Slugs, Seed Dispersers, & Stone Walls: Community Ecology of Northeastern Herbaceous Flora with Nathan Kiel – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

December 2, 2020 @ 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Every spring, naturalists seek the friendly faces of Spring Beauty, Red Trillium, and Bloodroot as symbols of warming temperatures and lengthening days. These dense carpets of herbaceous plants  in the forest floor comprise the majority of vascular plant biodiversity in the north woods. Yet past agricultural activity and other contemporary factors have left many modern forests without these plants, and with little opportunity for natural reestablishment. In this presentation, learn about the little-known ecosystem of dispersers, pollinators, seed thieves, and the other characters involved in the ecology of spring ephemerals. We'll discuss factors affecting plant distribution on the landscape, and explore current research and restoration initiatives around eastern forests.

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From ‘Sangers to Sochan: Plant Gathering in the Southern Appalachian National Parks with Maria Dunlavey – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

December 9, 2020 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

In the botanical wonderland of the Southern Appalachians, plant poaching is a very real threat. It's also a reflection of how important plants are to the people who live here — providing food, medicine, and income, not to mention cultural connection and belonging, for everyone ranging from the Cherokee to white settlers to newly arrived immigrants. But overharvest threatens to wipe out some species, like ginseng and ramps, even on the protected landscapes of the national parks. How can the parks keep their plant populations safe? And is there any role for cultural harvest inside their boundaries?

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Children’s Author Virtual Visit – Alex McConduit

December 16, 2020 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

This Virtual Author Visit with Alexander McConduit will feature a reading from his new book, Bloom, and a Q&A with the audience. McConduit will also give a short talk about his career and his love for nature, travel and his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. The visit will conclude with a musical reading of McConduit's Thorn in My Horn. 

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January 2021

Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist with Donald Kroodsma – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

January 13, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Once you are attuned, every singing bird becomes interesting. There’s never “just a robin,” for example, or chipping sparrow, or whatever it is that you’re listening to. No, there’s more to be heard-- something beyond the ID that can forever captivate the curious listener. As a result, you’re never “done” with birds, never done listening to the most common of birds, such as . . . robins, thrushes, sparrows, chickadees, blackbirds, buntings, starlings, mockingbirds, thrashers, tanagers, wrens, grosbeaks, cardinals, and, oh my, warblers galore . . . you name it. Not a bad bird anywhere. Each one captivating. Somehow, sadly, we’ll have to limit the number of performers to fit into the confines of the allotted time.

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Birds, Bees, Bats, and Bugs: Why Animals Make and Use Sound with Laurel Symes – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series (Date/Time Change!)

January 27, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

This engaging and accessible presentation will delve into the world of animal sound to explore how and why animals produce sound. Using examples from crickets to whales, we will discuss animal sounds that are too fast for us to follow, sounds that are too high for us to hear, and sounds that take hours or days to finish. The talk will include many opportunities to listen to animal sound and will include examples from far away and close to home.

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February 2021

Owls of Vermont – A Virtual Presentation

February 26, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

People worldwide have long been captivated by owls, though the intimate details of their lives go unnoticed by most, held secret by the night. Vermont is home to a diverse cadre of owl species including fearsome nocturnal predators, iconic visitors from the high arctic, and stealthy migrants who pass through our backyards by the hundreds. We will explore the unique position owls hold in both our culture and our ecosystems, and learn ways to detect and protect these enigmatic creatures.

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March 2021

What’s in a Name? – Learning to see and identify bird subspecies (online presentation)

March 3, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

We can all identify a cardinal - but can you tell the difference between an Arizonan Northern Cardinal from one at your feeder? Learn what subspecies are common in Vermont, how to identify them, and how it can be rewarding to see and hear backyard (and back of the mountain) birds with a closer lens.

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Amphibian Road Crossings: Ecology & Volunteer Training

March 16, 2021 @ 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Join NBNC scientists to learn about our Amphibian Road Crossing program, and find out how you can help Vermont's frogs and salamanders safely cross the road during their annual spring movements. Every April, amphibians migrate by the millions from upland forests to wetland breeding grounds, often crossing roadways at their peril. North Branch Nature Center's ARC program trains volunteers to survey known and suspected road crossing sites and help amphibians across the road while collecting valuable data to inform local conservation and transportation planning efforts. Over the last two years, NBNC volunteers conducted 300 surveys and documented 8,700 salamanders at 60 crossing sites across Central Vermont! This citizen science project accommodates volunteers of all ages and background-- the only requirement is an eagerness to enjoy and protect our local amphibians!

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Drawing on Birds: Comics, Science, and Sharing Nature with Rosemary Mosco

March 17, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Learn about the funny side of nature - and especially birds - and discover why comics and science are natural allies. Rosemary Mosco, a cartoonist, naturalist, and kids' book author, will explain her unique blend of art and science, and share some of the funny creatures she's encountered along the way.

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April 2021

Green Mountain Meadowlarks: Ecology and Conservation of an Imperiled Grassland Bird

April 15, 2021 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Eastern Meadowlarks in the Northeast are rapidly declining; based on the latest USGS Breeding Bird Survey results, they’re undergoing an estimated 8.7% annual decline in Vermont. With their recent designation of Threatened in New Hampshire, and imminent listing in Vermont, now is a golden opportunity for targeted survey efforts. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies is partnering up with New Hampshire Audubon to launch a bi-state “blitz” this spring to encourage birders and community scientists to target areas of grassland habitat with the goal of seeking out meadowlarks. Join North Branch and VCE to learn about these imperiled songbirds and what you can do to help keep them on the Vermont landscape. 

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May 2021

Nocturnal Migration: The birds flying over your bed while you sleep – by Larry Clarfeld

May 4, 2021 @ 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Presented by Larry Clarfeld Tuesday May 4  | 7:30 - 8:30 pm Free | Join via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85469408269 Hosted by:  Green Mountain Audubon Society and North Branch Nature Center Migration is one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world, and yet much of the migration of North America’s birds takes place under a cloak of darkness. This talk by Larry Clarfeld will illuminate nocturnal migration, delving into the historical context of the “night flight”, current techniques for studying this…

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Lady Beetles of Vermont: Invasions, Extirpations, & Discoveries – with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies

May 20, 2021 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Thursday May 20 | 6 - 7 pm Free | Join via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82792711468 Presented by: Vermont Center for Ecostudies Native lady beetles play an important role as biological pest control agents, yet native populations have been in decline across North America. Vermont's lady beetles seem to be following continental trends of decline, but due to lack of modern data, we do not understand what native lady beetles remain in Vermont, how their populations are doing, or what conservation initiatives…

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December 2021

The Winter Finch Forecast with Tyler Hoar – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

December 15, 2021 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

This presentation dives into the art and science of the Winter Finch Forecast. Tyler will provide an overview of each winter finch species, their current movements, and where we'll expect them to show up in the Northeast this season. From crossbills to grosbeaks and siskins to redpolls, the nomadic movements of winter finches depends on the interplay of weather, cone production, insect distributions, logging regimes, and more. This talk will also share a brief history of the Winter Finch Forecast, how it’s compiled and goals going forward.

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January 2022

Willow: A Beaver’s Tale with Patti Smith – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

January 12 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Follow the life of Willow, the remarkable matriarch of a beaver colony on a wild brook in southeastern Vermont.  Naturalist Patti Smith has spent over a decade with Willow's clan, documenting their trials and triumphs.  During this presentation she will share the stories, pictures and videos that celebrate this beaver and the world she created. Along the way, meet Terrible Jack, a lonely moose, and other wildlife drawn to the habitat created by the beavers.

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The Real Dirt on Truffles with Rowan Jacobsen – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

January 19 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Truffles are the world’s most mysterious and expensive food, but they are also an essential part of the forest ecosystem, linking trees and animals in a web of relationship that extends from the forest floor to the human communities around the world that depend on truffles for their livelihoods and celebrate them in their culinary traditions. Join award-winning writer Rowan Jacobsen on this deep dive into the world of truffles, from Italy and Istria to the wilds of the Northeast.

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February 2022

Life of a Conservation Photographer: Stories from the Field with Isabelle Groc – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

February 2 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

From photographing mountain caribou from a helicopter to working with scientists capturing narwhal in the freezing waters of the Arctic, Isabelle has many field stories and photographs to share. In this presentation she highlights her work with scientists in the field, how she develops trust, builds story angles, adapts to different working environments, and how her photography and stories can help build public exposure on important science and conservation work.

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Atowi: Intersections of Culture, Language, Place, & Relationship with the Plant Nations from an Indigenous Perspective

February 9 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Rich Holschuh and Melody Mackin of the Atowi Project will discuss the intersections between culture, language, place, and relationship with the plant nations from an Indigenous perspective.

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Lady Fern Evolution with Bertrand Black – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

February 16 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Ferns with Bertrand Black Part of the Naturalist Journeys 2021-22 Winter Presentation Series February 16 | 6 - 7 pm EST | Free | Live via ZOOM JOIN HERE: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89045735802 Lady ferns (Athyrium filix-femina) are one of the most common and widespread ferns in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, and are familiar to many New England naturalists. However, these plants have a controversial and complicated history among botanists. Even today, depending on your location or who you ask…

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Racing the Clock with Bernd Heinrich – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

February 23 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

An award-winning, much-loved biologist turns his gaze on himself, using his long-distance running to illuminate the changes to a human body over a lifetime. Part memoir, part scientific investigation, Racing the Clock is the book biologist and natural historian Bernd Heinrich has been waiting his entire life to write. A dedicated and accomplished marathon (and ultra-marathon) runner who won his first marathon at age thirty-nine, Heinrich looks deeply at running, aging, and the body, exploring the unresolved relationship between metabolism, diet, exercise, and age. 

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March 2022

New England’s Roadside Ecology with Tom Wessels – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

March 2 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

New England’s Roadside Ecology guides you through 30 spectacular natural sites, all within an easy walk from the road. The sites include the forests, wetlands, alpines, dunes, and geologic ecosystems that make up New England. Author Tom Wessels is the perfect guide...

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Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants by Heather Holm – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

March 9 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Most insects have a positive impact in our landscapes. Native plants can be selected to attract specific bees and beneficial insects including predatory and parasitic wasps, beetles, flies, true bugs, and lacewings. Learn about the predator-prey relationships of these flower-visiting beneficial insects and how they help keep problem insect populations in balance. The life cycles, diversity, and nesting habitat of native bees will also be covered along with examples of native plants for different site conditions.

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Alpine Habitats, Climate Change, and Rosy-Finches with Carl Brown – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

March 16 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Alpine ecosystems are rapidly changing in the face of climate change, with their avian occupants relatively understudied. From cliff nesting rosy-finches, to tundra obligate pipits and generalist sparrows, these communities face the potential for massive change in a warming environment. In this presentation, Carl Brown will discuss habitat associations that lend to climate vulnerability, potential arctic parallels, and the adventures of nest searching on alpine cliffs in the Rocky Mountains.

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Amphibian Road Crossing Program – Ecology & Training Night

March 21 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Find out how you can help Vermont’s frogs and salamanders safely cross the road during their annual spring movements. Did you know that Wood Frogs freeze solid all winter long? Did you know that Eastern Red-backed Salamanders are the most common vertebrate in the whole forest? Tonight will also feature a dive into the amazing ecology and life history of these semi-aquatic critters.

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Birdability: because birding is for everybody and every body! – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series

March 23 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Birding is an activity that can bring so much joy and empowerment to everybody, but not everybody is able to go birding easily. Birdability is a brand new non-profit, based in the US but with a global reach. Through education, outreach and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. We focus on people with mobility challenges, blindness or low vision, chronic illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness, and those who are neurodivergent, deaf or hard of hearing or who have other health concerns. In addition to current birders, we strive to introduce birding to people with disabilities and other health concerns who are not yet birders so they too can experience the joys of birding. 

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