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One Nonprofit That’s Connecting Families and Children with Nature in Vermont

The North Branch Nature Center’s mission is to “connect people of all ages to the natural world” but they have a particular fondness for working with youth.  The average child spends 6+ hours each day staring into a screen, be it TV, computer, or smart phone.  While parents once struggled to get their kids inside before dark, that struggle is now to pry children from the glow of their electronic device.

“At NBNC, we work every day to expose children to nature.  We’ve seen children transform from being uncomfortable outdoors to being in their element.  With their growing confidence in being outside, we’ve seen their self-confidence grow too,” reports Larry Clarfeld, one of NBNC’s Environmental Educators.  The positive impacts of outdoor play on children’s physical and emotional health are well documented (such as reduced stress, decreased risk of obesity, etc..)

Photo courtesy of North Branch Nature Center

In addition to the positive impacts that learning in nature has on the individual, NBNC sees an even larger benefit to the planet.  “You can’t protect what you don’t understand and you won’t protect what you don’t cherish,” Clarfeld adds.  “Today’s youth will be tomorrow’s policy and decision makers and by instilling in them a deep connection to the natural world, it is our hope that they will protect what they cherish: nature.”

5 Ways North Branch Nature Center Gets Kids Outside

  1. ECO – Educating Children Outdoors
    Through collaboration with public schools, ECO helps to open doors to the joy of learning outside in all kinds of weather. (learn more)
  2. Forest School & Preschool
    The Forest School is an outdoor-based early education program for students aged 3.5 to 8 years old.  (learn more)
  3. Youth Birding
    We have provided opportunities for young birders throughout the region for over ten years.  (learn more)
  4. Summer Camps
    NBNC has hosted a thriving nature-based summer camp program for over 15 years, with over 200 children participating in 17 camps each summer.  (learn more)
  5. Public Programs & Special Events We offer a variety of outreach programs for children and families, from school field trips to week-long residencies to birthday parties to wildlife festivals.  Whatever the nature-education need, NBNC is here to fill it!

Photo courtesy of North Branch Nature Center

Live in Vermont and are interested in getting your kids involved with NBNC? Check out their programs here.  Or, maybe your kids are grown and you just want to support a great cause? Click here to make a donation!

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