Program & Events

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COMMUNITY EVENTS

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Maple Sap Collection Team 2024

Spend an hour or two walking through the woods helping Flanders collect maple sap to turn into sweet maple syrup. Weather conditions determine whether the sap will flow, so if it’s a sap-collecting day, you will receive an email inviting you to meet at the Sugar House for collection. If you’re available that day, we welcome you to come out, lend a hand, and enjoy some time in the woods during this magical season! All ages welcome, under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.   REGISTER

Maple Syrup Demonstrations

Reserve your time to visit the Sugar House as staff and volunteers demonstrate turning sap into syrup with an entertaining mix of science, stories and humor. The entire family will be fascinated by the maple sugar-making process. There is a $5 per person donation suggested, which supports Flanders future maple sugar programming.
Saturdays, Feb 24 & March 2,  9 and Sundays, Feb 25 & March 3, 10 | Time Slots Between  1 – 4 PM | Sugar House  | REGISTER

Pancake Breakfast

Bring the family and join us for our Annual Pancake Breakfast! The menu will feature all you can eat pancakes and sausage. All served with Flanders’ very own maple syrup, butter and beverage of choice (coffee, tea and/or orange juice).  All proceeds from the breakfast will benefit Flanders’ education programs. (Snow date: Sunday, March 10)
Sunday, March 3 | 8 AM – 12 PM | Woodbury Emergency Services Building, 25 Quassuk Road | $10 adults & $8 for children, under age 2 are free

Annual Meeting

Please join us as we conduct our annual meeting. During the meeting we will elect directors, reflect on 2023’s accomplishments and share plans for 2024. We will also celebrate our volunteers, including announcing the 2023 Volunteer of the Year! This is also a good opportunity to meet our Board and share ideas and thoughts. Refreshments will be served.
Tuesday, April 9 | 6:30 PM | Location TBD | Complimentary, but registration required | REGISTER

Community Service Day – Earth Day!

Join fellow community members for a day of service on Earth Day!  Volunteers will work to remove non-native plant species on a Flanders preserved property. Nonnative or invasive plants have a negative effect on native plants and wildlife communities.  The goal is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the invasive plants, clearing the way for local species to reclaim their territory and creating a healthy environment for the plants and animals that call Connecticut home. Please bring lots of water, snacks and lunch. Also, please wear closed-toe footwear, long pants and work gloves. Bring shovels, pruning shears/loppers/clippers to this event. We ask that you leave all furry friends at home.  Community service hours can be provided for this event. Meeting location will be sent to those who have signed up to volunteer. Help us make a positive and lasting impact on by joining us on this very important Community Service Day!
Monday, April 22 | 9:30 AM | Location TBD | Complimentary, but registration required | REGISTER

  CHILDREN & YOUTH PROGRAMS

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Adventure Days!

Are you looking for a great opportunity for your children, grades kindergarten through 5th, to get some outdoor exercise, learn more about the animals that make up their world and bring their science books to life? Each of the days will be packed with exploring the great outdoors, as well as age appropriate stories, games and art projects! We will care for them, entertain them and educate them while giving them a memorable day!
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM or 12:30 – 4:30 PM or 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM | Half Day $35 members & $45 non OR Full day $70 members & $90 non

REGION 14 PROF. DEVELOPMENT DAY: Friday, March 22 | Call to Register
GOOD FRIDAY: Friday, March 29 |Call to Register
SPRING BREAK: Monday – Fri, April 15 – 19 | Call to Register

K – 5 Next Generation Science Standards – Aligned Programs 

Flanders offers an exceptional collection of field-based K-5 learning experiences to complement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These 2-hour immersive programs are fun, engaging, and authentic in a classroom of nature’s design.
Each NGSS program focuses on grade-specific standards, helping to prepare students to meet key grade-level performance expectations. Each can be incorporated into a teacher’s unit plans, or can stand as a self-contained experience. >> For More Information

Birthday Parties at Flanders!

We offer birthday parties on Saturdays or Sundays year round! Affordable and fun there are a variety of nature themed parties to choose from including animals and art to fairy fun. Hiking, games and stories, live animals and even tractor rides can all be made a part of the celebration!  Call Amber McDonald at (203) 263-3711 x12 for more information to brainstorm what will make for an unforgettable party for your birthday child!  For more information, download a new Birthday Flyer!

Scout Programs

We can help your Boy and Girl Scouts earn badges and complete community service projects! Programs can be tailored to the needs of individual troops.  Eagle Scout and Gold and Silver Award projects have been done at Flanders.  For a list of ideas which we feel would benefit Flanders—or with an idea of your own, email Program Coordinator, Ana Jordan, at ana@flandersnaturecenter.org.

Supervised Agricultural Experience

Do you know (or are you) an agricultural education student searching for placement in an organization to complete your Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE)? Look no further, Flanders is the perfect place to obtain those SAE hours! We welcome students from the local area agricultural education programs. Our North Barn, under the guidance of our Farm Manager, offers an excellent opportunity to learn and apply knowledge about the care of livestock. Our sanctuary with its forest, fields, trails and ponds is a superb location to further your understanding and utilize your skills in environmental systems! Contact flanders@flandersnaturecenter.org for more information.

  CONNECTICUT WILDLIFE SERIES 

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Ticks and What You Need to Know

Dr. Goudarz Molaei from the CT Agricultural Experiment Station and Yale Public School of Health will help you get ready for the upcoming tick season. Learn about the tick surveillance program at the Ag Experiment Station and get tips on measures you can take to avoid tick-borne illness.
Thursday, April 18 | 7 PM | Studio | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

 WINTER SPRING TRAIL HIKE SERIES

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Senior Hikes with Arthur

Join retired Flanders Executive Director, Arthur Milnor, for easy to moderate casual walks taken on forest trails. A great opportunity to get outside, observe what’s happening in the natural world in winter and early spring, learn something new and maybe even meet new friends. These hikes are not just for seniors. All are welcome!
Thursday, March 14 | 10 AM | Van Vleck Sanctuary –Sugar House, 48 Church Hill Rd., Woodbury | Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER
Friday, April 19 | 10 AM | Hetzel Refuge, Breakneck Hill Rd, Middlebury | Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER

Fleming Preserve Hike

Flanders volunteer Sandy Stone will lead a hike on our Fleming Preserve, which is the site of the original Flanders sap house. This beautiful property also includes a former apple orchard, stone walls, and a spectacular scenic overlook. Hike is easy to moderate, 45 to 60 minutes, 1.25 mile out and back.
Saturday, March 2 | 10 AM | Fleming Preserve, 59 Cowles Rd., Woodbury| Complimentary  members & $5 non  | REGISTER

Full Pink Moon Hike

Join Board Member, John Trainor for a guided spring evening hike of the Van Vleck Farm & Nature Sanctuary. This is a unique opportunity to explore the trails at night and see the sanctuary in a new way under the Full Pink Moon.
Tuesday, April 23 | 8 PM | Van Vleck Sanctuary, Studio Parking Lot, 5 Church Hill Rd., Woodbury| Complimentary  members & $5 non  | REGISTER

Are you currently a land trust volunteer and want to hear ways to improve your stewardship work? Are you interested in getting more involved in stewardship activities, helping to keep our lands preserved for future generations?
Join Flanders as we explore the important roles we play as stewards of land trust properties. This 3-part series covers important areas of land trust work and will provide an opportunity for discussion and sharing. Register for one or all three!

Jumping Worms in Connecticut Forests

Jumping worms present a distinct challenge to Connecticut’s habitats and gardens, impacting soil and the ecosystems that rely on it. In this talk, we’ll explore the effects of these earthworms and guide you on how to identify them. The discussion led by Dr. Annise Dobson, Yale School of the Environment Postdoctoral Researcher, will also include strategies for preventing their spread and effective approaches to mitigate their environmental impact.
Thursday, March 7 | 7 PM | Online Virtual | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Fantastic Ferns

Join Lynn Levine, author of Identifying Ferns the Easy Way: A Pocket Guide to Ferns of the Northeast (book included with registration), as she highlights her love of our forests and the important ferns covering the forest floor. Time will be allotted for questions and answers.  REGISTERED ATTENDEES RECEIVE A COPY OF LYNN LEVINE’S IDENTIFYING FERNS THE EASY WAY (Pickup at Flanders’ administrative office only, 596 Flanders Rd, Woodbury)
Tuesday, April 2 | 7 PM | Online Virtual | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Current Issues Surrounding Our Climate

Join Dr. Mitch Wagener, professor of ecology and climate ecology at Western Connecticut State University, as he discusses two important issues surrounding our changing climate.

Fire Climate

Dr. Wagener’s presentation and talk will take a look at the effects of a warming climate on the severity of wildfires. When fires occur naturally they can be the ecological reset for forests, grasslands, and even tundra. Some trees even require periodic fires to reproduce.  However, human land use practices tend to suppress fire. As of late when a fire does occur, fuel loads are large and fires are difficult to control. On a warming planet, fires will become larger as climates shift to “Fire climate.”
Monday, March 11 | 7 PM | Studio | $5 members & $10 non | REGISTER

Public Health in a Warming World

Humans are part of nature, organisms within ecosystems. When extreme events occur in nature, they affect us, along with moose, flying squirrels, and all the rest. Events that harm other organisms can harm us, too. Humans are particularly vulnerable to wildfires, heat waves, deteriorating air quality, and diseases. Dr. Wagener’s presentation will focus on how a warming climate can increase the danger of vector-borne diseases, zoonosis, and diseases from the past.
Thursday, April 4 | 7 PM | Studio | $5 members & $10 non | REGISTER

  ADULT & FAMILY PROGRAMS

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Eastern Bluebird Nest Box Building

Master Naturalist Dr. Edward Boisits will provide background on the history of the Eastern Bluebird and discuss the role of the nest box initiative in helping to increase the populations of the beautiful birds to sustainable levels. Following the presentation, participants will build their own nest box using kits provided.
Saturday, Feb  24 | 2 PM | Studio | $25 per bluebird box |Registration Closed. Call 203-263-3711 to be placed on the Waitlist

Bald Eagles at The Shepaug Dam

Take a field trip with Flanders to the Shepaug Dam Recreation Area in Southbury for an eagle watch! A Flanders representative will be on hand to help with the viewing and to answer questions about America’s national symbol. There is a limited number of spotting scopes available at the site, so feel free to bring binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras. Space is limited on this group visit and you must preregister.
Sunday, Feb 25 | 11 AM | Shepaug Dam Recreation Area | $5 members & $10 non |CLOSED

Needle Felting Nights

Curious about needle felting? Come and explore the magic! Needle felting is an easy-to-learn craft in which you can sculpt wool fiber into anything imaginable simply by poking it with a single barbed needle. Participants will learn to achieve the desired form, firmness, and surface quality in the process. The featured kit includes all materials needed. Choose to bring your own materials for guidance and support on your project. Other kits will be available for purchase by cash or check.
Thursdays, Feb 29 (Bears)FULL, March 14 (Sheep) FULL, April 25 (Turtles) FULL | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20 per class plus cost of kit (kit price varies) | All classes are FULL.  Please call to be added to a waitlist

Writing In Tune With The Seasons

Join author Nancy McMillan of March Farm: Season by Season on a Connecticut Family Farm, for a 90 minute writing workshop that explores winter themes through writing. For inspiration, we’ll use nature, art, and poetry. We’ll write about the moon and snow and all things wintery while exploring the Flanders campus. All genres of writing—poetry, fiction, and non-fiction—are welcome. Come be warmed up by the company of other writers during the cold season. This class will give you tools to keep writing all the way to spring, and beyond!
Friday, March 1 | 1:30 PM | Studio | $10 members & 15 non | REGISTER

Beekeeping Series

Learn to be a beekeeper! Take our popular introductory beekeeping course on the art and science of beekeeping, led by Al Avitabile, Emeritus Professor in the Biology Department at UCONN, co-author of The Beekeeper’s Handbook and noted beekeeper and researcher. The workshops will promote the importance of pollinators to our environment and show students how to start and keep a hive, as well as brainstorm new ideas to help keep our pollinators alive and thriving. This series will consist of three classes and two field trips to an apiary.
Classes: Saturdays, March 16, 23 & 30 & Field Trips: Saturdays, April 6 & 13 to Local Apiary | 10 AM | Studio | $85 members & 120 non | REGISTER

Vernal Pools: Amphibian Habitat – Big Night Is Coming!

Come discover and learn about Flanders’ vernal pools and amphibian breeding places! Vernal pools are fishless temporary spring ponds that form in the forest essential to many amphibians and other aquatic creatures. During this program, Dr. Jeff Kogan will discuss the importance of vernal pools. Then the group will head into the night to try to get a glimpse of some pools and see what their nocturnal inhabitants are up to! (Weather Permitting)
Saturday, March 23 | 7 PM | Sugar House | $5 members & 10 non | REGISTER

Understanding Solar as an Alternative Energy

Join Rob Trezza, owner, contractor, and solar installer at Connecticut Solar Power, for an informative and interactive program discussing the exciting new solar panel array designed for the Flanders South Barn. Learn how the system works and how you can explore adding solar at your home or office. Ample time will be allowed for questions and answers.
Saturday, April 27 | 10 AM | South Barn | $5 members & 10 non | Call to Register

Flanders Letterbox Series – New Botany Trail Hike Added!

Flanders has planted several letterboxes on the family friendly trails at their preserves and sanctuaries. Combining art and nature in a fun interactive way, letterboxing is a popular treasure hunting activity done world-wide.  GET MORE INFORMATION

  FLANDERS CLUBS

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Flanders Environmental Book Club

Join reading enthusiasts and book club leaders, Adele Falco and Ingrid Manning, in discussing reading that will focus on mostly non-fiction books about nature and the environment. The club would like to investigate and remain open to all aspects of these subjects from science-based teachings to cultural and political influences. It is our hope to have the opportunity to delve deeply into aspects of these topics that affect our community directly, particularly the environmental and natural history of our region, its agrarian history and current trends. The group collectively decides on future titles.  We welcome anyone interested in sharing and learning more about these topics to join us for a friendly, educational and hopefully, enlightening discussion on a monthly basis.  The next book is From Stone to Stone, The Magnificent History in New England’s Stone Walls by Robert Thorson.
Every 4th Tuesday, Feb 27 | 7 – 8:30 PM | Studio | Complimentary, but registration required | REGISTER

Flanders Trail Blazers 4-H Club

Do you have a child age 7-18 that loves animals and being outdoors?  Then joining the Flanders 4-H Club is the perfect fit!  UCONN 4-H is a youth organization whose mission is engaging youth to reach their fullest potential with a motto “To Make the Best Better.”  Members will learn all about caring for a variety of farm animals, beekeeping, responsible land care, gardening and forestry.  Also, as a club member you will have the opportunity to attend educational meetings, go on field trips or show off your new skills at a 4-H Fair.  In the process, you will make new friends, solve problems and make a difference in your neighborhood or even in the world!  More information.

The Van Vleck 200-acre campus with our North Barn animals presents perfect opportunities to learn the responsibilities of raising livestock and many land management challenges.  For more information, please contact the Flanders office at 203-263-3711 x12.
Meetings are Once a Month | Date, Time & Location to be Announced | Complimentary, but registration required | REGISTER

Photography Club 2023

Want to join the Flanders Photography Club?  Our focus is outdoor nature photography “to foster understanding and appreciation of nature, art and the wonders of the natural world . . .” The Club’s purpose is to promote the  development of photographic skills and the art of photography. Meetings will include instruction on the basics of outdoor photography, camera operation, features, techniques and tips as well as presentations, forums, and guest speakers. Plus there will be outdoor exercises and projects, such as macro, wildlife and bird photography.
Third Wednesday of the Month  | 5:30 PM | Studio |$20 members & $40 non per year  | REGISTER

  FOREVER CONNECTED

Volunteer Your Time – A gift of your time and talent is a very important contribution. Flanders offers regular opportunities for members and friends to share their skills and interests with the organization and community. Seasonal events at Flanders, such as Maple Sugaring, Flanders Festival, Field & Forest 5K, Flanders Annual Benefit & Auction, and our Holiday Wreath Making Workshops depend upon the work of hundreds of dedicated volunteers to make them successful. From a Land Trust perspective, Flanders relies on its volunteers to carry on its mission of preserving and caring for more than 2,400 acres of protected property in the region. Whether you would like to volunteer regularly or just help when you have the time, Flanders needs you!

Consider Joining A CommitteeReady to get more involved with Flanders and share your expertise? Join one or more of our volunteer lead committees to help us meet our goals and objectives and further our mission and vision. By being a committee member you will help grow Flanders and make a deep impact! Here is a list of our committees with a brief description:
»  LEARN Committee—Promoting and teaching the understanding and appreciation of art, farming, and nature to adults and families.
»  Art Committee—Organize art related programs and conserve founder Natalie Van Vleck’s history and archives.
»  Land Management Committee—Managing Flanders’ 2,400+ acres of open space.
»  Land Acquisition Committee—Acquiring important open space lands.
»  Development/Fundraising Committee—Helping raise funds to support Flanders’ Mission.
»  Historic Van Vleck Committee—Ensuring Flanders facilities are properly maintained and/or restored.

Want To Lead A Hike, Program Or Class?  Do you have a talent that you would like to share? Flanders is always looking for new instructors.

TO LEARN MOREContact Flanders’ volunteer coordinator Ana Jordan to learn more about becoming a Flanders ambassador or other available volunteer opportunities today!

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Flanders Wish List!

To help reduce  expenses,  the donation of supplies, services and/or equipment that are used for fulfilling our mission are greatly appreciated! >Learn more

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 for any programs, call 203.263.3711
or click on the registration link next to the program.

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