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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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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 – 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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