N BNC’s after-school programs bring children out into the forests and fields at the North Branch Nature Center, Hubbard Park, and North Branch River Park. We employ a model of experiential education where children learn by doing through activating all of their senses. Adventures might include tracking, foraging for wild edibles, cooking over an open fire, fire starting, building shelters, telling stories, playing games, or taking an expedition to the river or woods. Specific activities at each age level follow the interests of those enrolled and are developmentally appropriate.
Explorers & Trekkers After-school Programs
March 10 - April 14, 2021 (6 weeks)
Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:30 pm | Cost: $255
Let your kids be kids at NBNC. Our Explorers and Trekkers programs offer kids time to explore the woods and fields, play stealth and awareness games, and learn outdoor skills with their peers.
Explorers (6-8 years old) are playful adventurers. One week your child might forage for wild edibles and cook over an open fire, while the next week might find them deep in the woods, building shelters.
Trekkers (9-13 years old) adopt an off-trail mentality, using the local landscape to push their limits while practicing outdoor living skills such as tracking and fire-starting.
Both age groups focus on learning by doing, using all five senses. Thoughtful and loosely directed play in the woods helps kids develop a sense of place while unwinding with a peer group. Through cooperative games, exploration of various habitats, and team-building challenge projects, Trekkers and Explorers build a communal love for the outdoors, making NBNC the place to be on Wednesdays after school!
After-school Handbook: For more information about policies, what to bring, and information for parents, please consult our revised NBNC Afterschool Programs Parent-Guardian Handbook.
“An awesome, amazing experience because we get to have a lot of fun!”
– Asa (Trekker)
All of our time will be spent outdoors, only coming inside to access the bathroom or in the event of hazardous weather. Masks and social distancing will be required according to Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education guidelines. A health screening form will be required upon drop-off each day. Group size is limited to 10 participants. For more information, click on our COVID-19 protocols below.
COVID-19 Safety at North Branch Nature Center
(Revised March 24 2021)
At NBNC we believe that being outdoors in nature provides significant social, emotional, physical, and intellectual benefits for our children. Our educational programming practices a nature-based approach to learning that builds health, happiness, and resilience. During this pandemic, we provide a safe and nurturing environment where children can engage with their peers and the natural world. For more about our philosophy around nature-based teaching and learning during COVID times, please see our position statements:
- Outdoor Learning for Healthy Students During COVID-19
- Outdoor Learning in Cold Weather During COVID-19
Our protocols follow the most up-to-date guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Agency of Education, available here. This currently includes:
- Performing daily health screenings at drop-off.
- Bathrooms and common indoor spaces are sanitized before the start of each program and at the end of each program.
- Staff and participants are wearing masks at all times whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Participants will be no less than 3 feet apart (pre-K - 6th grade) or 6 feet apart (7th - 12th grade) for sustained periods of time. Brief periods of closer contact may occur.
- During snack/lunch or when a mask break is needed, all participants will be distanced, and staff will assist in establishing this distance.
- Masks that are wet, frozen or unable to stay on a child’s face will be changed out for a new, clean mask (participants are required to have two extra clean masks).
- Masks are always worn inside. If a program must come inside due to hazardous weather, and that period overlaps with lunch or snack time, masks may be removed for eating or drinking, provided that students are at least 3 feet (pre-K - 6th grade) or 6 feet (7th - 12th grade) apart. Masks will be worn during mealtimes when not actively eating or drinking.
Our protocols are subject to change as Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education guidelines evolve. For more information, please see the resource upon which we base our protocols:
IMPORTANT NOTE: This program uses our built-in registration platform by Sawyer. If you're new to Sawyer, when you click "More Info," then "Registration" below, the platform will ask you first to create a Sawyer account. This only takes a few seconds. But wait, you're not done yet! Once you've created and logged into your new account, return to this page and continue with the remainder of your registration process.
Connecting People to the Natural World