Bees Have the Keys! Join Us at Kindred Spirits This Saturday!

Our Saturday morning program series for families, Kindred Spirits, continues this upcoming weekend with a morning devoted to celebrating the pollinators of the world who work overtime so that we can enjoy many of our favorite foods and flowers. This celebration is a great way to jumpstart your celebration of Pollinator Week taking place nationwide June 19-25. 

The start of summer seems like a perfect time to take a moment to learn about our buzzworthy friends and the steps we can take to protect them. Understanding the problems honeybees face with pesticides and colony collapse disorder reveal how valuable honeybees are to nature.  If you caught our talk in March with Brian Pfeiffer, this would be a fantastic event to bring a young person in your life who might just be discovering we bear in mind the work of earth's pollinators.  

This program fee is by donation and will take place rain or shine! 


About Kindred Spirits

This Saturday program series is designed to build a greater understanding between all creatures of the Earth by exploring the mysteries of nature. By offering a shared experience that draws families together, participants will develop a stronger kinship with our Earth and each other. Programs will take place rain or shine, with hands-on activities both indoors and out. Admission is by donation.

Twigs & Stems // June 2017

Here are a few links from around the web that caught our attention in recent weeks. Have you seen something that stuck with you that you'd like to share? Post it in the comments! Love what you see here? Follow us on Facebook, as we often post these goodies as we find them. 

Vermont Odonata Atlas. Pfeiffer, Bryan, Michael Blust, and Kent McFarland. 2017. Vermont Center for Ecostudies – Vermont Atlas of Life.

Vermont Odonata Atlas. Pfeiffer, Bryan, Michael Blust, and Kent McFarland. 2017. Vermont Center for Ecostudies – Vermont Atlas of Life.

Grafton Elementary's 3rd Grade Class Gives Back to the Nature Museum

It's no secret that we love getting out in our greater community (check out our Summer Unplugged programs!), and beyond Grafton, the lovely town our museum calls home. But we're also so fortunate to have a hefty supply of wild enthusiasm for nature just down the road at nearby Grafton Elementary School. Throughout the year, we offer programming to the school at large and to some individual classrooms. 

We have just received a generous donation from one such class---Amanda Penge's 3rd grade classroom. The civic-minded class raised $335 at the Holiday Bazaar and have opted to give these raised funds to The Nature Museum so we can continue our work. 

The kids described the motivation behind this sweet gesture: “The Nature Museum does so much for us, we wanted to give back to you.”  They pressed for a return trip by our Environmental Educator Jay DeGregorio to their after-school club for more "Nature Mondays".   

We depend on generous donors like this to keep the Museum vital, connected, and growing so it goes without saying that this really meant a lot to us. This kind of support is critical in enabling us to continue to serve our local community.

Thank you Grafton Elementary School 3rd Graders!! We love your support and enthusiasm!

The Village School Learns About North America's Largest Rodent

The Village School of North Bennington visited the Nature Museum today and came prepared to wow our Environmental Educator Jay DiGregorio on all of the things they have learned during a recent unit on beavers. He was impressed with both their knowledge and enthusiasm for these semi-aquatic mammals.

Jay shared with them more fascinating beaver facts before giving them a closer look at several hands-on beaver artifacts like chew marks,  pelts, imitation skat, and a model of a beaver skull.  

From this program, the group learned the importance of the beaver's role in its wetland habitat. After agreeing that beavers are excellent architects in nature, the group set off on an adventure to a nearby pond. There they studied macroinvertebrates by pond dipping before having a chance to run around and play on what was a beautiful sunny day.

We were so grateful to spend the day with these young and enthusiastic naturalists! 

The Mushroom Forager Comes to Grafton: Spring Wildcrafting Weekend

In what is becoming a highly anticipated spring tradition here at The Nature Museum, Ari Rockland-Miller, "The Mushroom Forager" returned to Grafton last weekend to lead two wildcrafting walks.

On our forays into the surrounding woods maintained by the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association, we found false morels, Indian cucumber, birch leaves, emerging reshi mushrooms and painted trillium. It was a beautiful spring day to spend with wild food expert Ari and his talented wife and foraging partner Jenna. They both offered their expertise and ethical guidelines for sustainable foraging of fungi and plants.  

This event was incredibly popular and sold out weeks in advance; there was both a morning and an afternoon walk. We will have two other walks with Ari in August; registration is up now! Nab your spot!



False morels and birch leaves

False morels and birch leaves

Reshi mushroom on dead Hemlock

Reshi mushroom on dead Hemlock

Ari Rockland-Miller and the group

Ari Rockland-Miller and the group

Looking Back: 5 Big Things You Helped Us Achieve in 2016

As we look back on the highlights of 2016 in our annual report, it is clear that 2016 was a year of growth and achievement. 

We had record-breaking attendance at our presentations and events, we introduced new family programs, and we refreshed all our most requested educational offerings. Our accomplishments wouldn’t have happened without the loyal support of our donors and community partners. Thanks for helping us make 2016 such a success!

American Redstarts and a Saturday Morning's Simple Pleasures

An American Redstart By Dan Pancamo - originally posted to Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

An American Redstart
By Dan Pancamo - originally posted to Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Laurie Danforth and Will Danforth led an earnest group of birdwatchers on Saturday, May 20. For information on future walks and other adult programming, please sign up for our updates!

By Laurie Danforth

Most of us begin to learn bird identification skills by checking out our winter feeders. But in spring our fascinating neotropical migrants return and the trees are dense with leaves and all bird feeders are stored away. Identification by sight can become a challenge.  Not so much though if you learn to name that tune! Your enjoyment skyrockets when you are able to recognize individual bird songs.

Last Saturday, our group of birders headed out to explore the diverse habitats of Grafton to check out what birds called the local area home, including the nearby woods, field and ponds.

Beginning to learn by ear was our goal as we headed down the street to the tennis courts. There we found one of the real highlights of our walk: listening and watching the many American Redstarts who were in rare form as they sang from treetops to low shrubs.  A few times we were even able to see these beautiful little guys at almost eye level.  

In the Grafton Town Park, where just the day before several interesting birds had been singing, the woods were silent. Nevertheless, we were delighted to find an assortment of spring ephemeral wildflowers! It was a real lesson that there's always something to discover in the natural world around us. 

We ended as we began with delicious breakfast options from MKT:Grafton on Main Street. Many thanks to Suzanne Welch, a generous Grafton resident, who sponsored this entire fun morning. What a great group we were; it was a delightfully pleasurable morning spent sauntering in search of songs.

Register now for our Brave Bears summer camps for ages 6-9!

Plan now for their summer fun! Camp registration is open for our Brave Bears one day adventures, as well as our two week long sessions in July. 

Time in nature increases health, happiness, and well-being in kids. Unplug from electronics and reconnect with nature! Our Brave Bear camps include educational, hands-on experiences that bring children outside to exercise their minds and bodies. We build confidence and independence by teaching nature wilderness skills in a safe and fun group environment. Youth will cultivate a deeper relationship with the natural world with The Nature Museum. 

Learn more and register today:

Brave Bears Camp: Highlights from 2016