Summer Unplugged: Free Kids Programs in the Community 

These warmer months give us plenty of opportunity to spread our nature educators throughout our Southern Vermont community. You'll find us sharing our enthusiasm for the natural world beyond our Grafton borders. The Nature Museum's Jay DeGregorio, an environmental educator, will lead programming at sites near you this summer. These sites include the Bellows Falls Visitor Center & Fish Ladder, as well as libraries in Chester, Springfield, and Charlestown, NH. The family programs are recommended for children ages 4 and up and include time for making a relevant and fun craft. Check out this summer's lineup!

*** Note: As of June 6th, the Bellows Falls Visitor Center and Fish Ladder is closed until further notice due to a sewage pipe break. Programs scheduled to take place on Fridays at the center have now been moved to the Rockingham Library in Bellows Falls.


Summer Unplugged: Upcoming Programs

Program Descriptions

Amazing Adaptations
Native New England wildlife have many amazing adaptations. Body parts and behaviors that help an animal survive where it lives.  Bring your young naturalist and investigate real animal pelts, skins, and other artifacts to learn more about the unique wildlife that call New England home. Hands-on items, tales about astonishing animals and a craft will captivate all ages.  

  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: June 12th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: June 13th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: June 14th, 1:30pm

Magnificent Migrations  
When the cold winter winds of Vermont start to blow where does our native wildlife go?  Many critters, whether they have fins, feathers or feet migrate to find warmer weather.  During this program, learn about migrating Vermont wildlife and their journeys during our coldest season.  Fun facts and a coooool craft are included!

  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: June 19th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: June 20th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: June 21st, 1:30pm

Trees: Tall Storytellers of the Land
Did you know there are 110 different species of trees and shrubs in Vermont?  Our trees and shrubs have some amazing secrets and can tell great stories about Vermont’s natural history.  Jay, one of The Nature Museum’s naturalists will help you unlock the riddles our woods hold, teach you some great facts about the forest that surround us and offer up a fantastic craft.  

  • Rockingham Free Public Central Library, Bellows Falls: June 23rd, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: June 26th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: June 27th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: June 28th, 1:30pm

Eagles, Hawks and Owls – Predators of the Sky
Raptors rule the sky and are a special group of birds that include eagles, falcons, hawks and owls.  Examine feathers, feet, bones and other artifacts that highlight special characteristics of these raptors and predators.  Find out how they hunt and how they live.  Great hands-on items, bird facts and a craft will teach all ages about these Fish Laddering hunters!

  • Rockingham Free Public Central Library, Bellows Falls: June 30th, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: July 3rd, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: July 6th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: July 5th, 1:30pm

The Abenaki and Nature
Thousands of years ago, Abenaki people relied on nature to survive, making clothing and building shelters from natural materials.  Their food came from hunting, gathering, and fishing so knowing all about the natural world was very important.  Come listen to Native American stories, play traditional games, make a craft and imagine daily life before roads, stores, and electricity.  

  • Rockingham Free Public Central Library, Bellows Falls: July 7th, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: July 10th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: July 13th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: July 12th, 1:30pm

Who is Swimming in the Water?

Do fish lay eggs?  Can a fish live both in the ocean and in a river?  Come to this program and learn about the Connecticut River and its tributaries, which are home to many species of fish. Hear all about the river’s native aquatic wildlife that call these waterways home. Along with fabulous fish facts, attendees will make a creative craft! 

  • Rockingham Free Public Central Library, Bellows Falls: July 14th, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: July 17th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: July 20th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: July 19th, 1:30pm

The Recipes for Thunderstorms  
Mother Nature has a great recipe for thunderstorms.  Do you know the ingredients?  Join us to learn more about what thunderstorms are, how they form, and safety tips for experiencing these amazing storms outdoors.  No need to wear a raincoat but bring your curiosity to learn more and your creativity to make a craft.  

  • Fish Ladder, Bellows Falls: July 21st & 22nd, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: July 24th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: July 27th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: July 26th, 1:30pm

Righteous Reptiles
Turtles, snakes, and even lizards call Vermont home! Learn what makes a reptile a reptile and all about the species that call Vermont and New England home.  Reptile facts, hands-on items and a craft will keep your snake charmer engaged!

  • Fish Ladder, Bellows Falls: July 28th & 29th, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: July 31st, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: August 3rd, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: August 2nd, 1:30pm

Caterpillars, Moths, and Butterflies Oh My!
The woods and fields close by are home to a wide variety of moths and butterflies. These magical winged insects come in all different shapes, sizes and colors!  Learn about their amazing life cycle and the many species that are found right here in New England!  Hands-on items, tales about magnificent moths and beautiful butterfies, along with a craft will captivate all ages.  

  • Fish Ladder, Bellows Falls: August 4th & 5th, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: August 7th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: August 10th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: August 9th, 1:30pm

The Colors of Fall
Why do leaves turn a different color in fall?  Why do trees lose their leaves? Countless shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown will color our woods! Come learn about what happens in the natural world during the fall season.  Stories, hands-on items and a craft is included! 

  • Fish Ladder, Bellows Falls: August 11th & 12th, 11am
  • Silsby Library, Charlestown, NH: August 14th, 10:30am
  • Springfield Town Library, Springfield: August 17th, 10am
  • Whiting Library, Chester: August 16th, 1:30pm

The Inside Scoop:
The Bellows Falls Visitor Center

We are excited to return to the Bellows Falls Visitor Center for another summer. Come by to learn more about the center's fish ladder and take a peek to see what river life thrives just on the other side of its windows.

This is a valuable local asset and we are grateful for Great River Hydro's support of the center and our staffing of it. Our environmental educator Jay DeGregorio will be on hand at the center Fridays and Saturdays; both days he will lead special free, hour-long drop-in programs starting at 11am as part of our Summer Unplugged program. The center is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10am-4pm.

Note: As of June 6th, the center is currently closed due to a sewage pipe breakdown.


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