Program & Events

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Trail Run Registration is Open!
The Flanders Field & Forest 5K is an all-age walk/run through the woods and fields of Flanders, officially timed by Fast Track Timing.  Enjoy the picturesque nature sanctuary and entertainment!  This race is open to all levels of runners and walkers, with awards given to the top male and female finishers in each age division and the overall male and female winners.  For more information.
Friday, June 2 | 6 PM | Sugar House | REGISTER


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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 H is for Hawk.  Author: Helen Macdonald.  Author Information: (
Every 4th Tuesday, Next date April 25  | 7 – 8:30 PM | The 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


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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

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 for more information.


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Whittemore Bog Winter Hike (weather permitting)

Join us for some fresh air, exercise and insight into bog ecology in the winter. Wetland ecologist and soil scientist, Kyle Turoczi, will guide a group to explore bog ecology while the water is frozen, so we can safely go out and learn about the plants and animals that live there. All interested parties encouraged to attend. Ice cleats are recommended.
Saturday, Jan 28  POSTPONED – New Date TBD | 10 AM | Whittemore Sanctuary – Rte 64 (Sherman Hill Rd, Woodbury | $10 members,  $15 non & $5 children under 12 | REGISTER

Senior Hikes with Arthur

Join retired Flanders Executive Director, Arthur Milnor, for easy to moderate casual walks taken on Conservation Partners of the Pomperaug (CPOP) preserve properties. A great opportunity to get outside, observe what’s happening in the natural world, learn something new and maybe even meet new friends. These hikes are not just for seniors. All are welcome!
Thursday, June 22 | Flanders’ Van Vleck Santuary w/ current Executive Director, Vince LaFontan | Sugar House | Complimentary for members & $5 non | REGISTER

Thursday, Sept 14 | Middlebury Land Trust’s Sperry Preserve w/ Scott Peterson.  Parking at 312 Park Rd Ext, Middlebury | Complimentary for members & $5 non | REGISTER

Hike the Hetzel for CT Trails Day

Everyone is invited to come out and explore the Hetzel Refuge in Middlebury with Land Management Volunteer Dave Terry. The Hetzel is a pristine wooded refuge of 66 acres and offers prime observation areas for both birds and animals. It has an excellent trail system which not only includes woodlands, but also hayfields, conifer plantations, swamps, and several man-made ponds, all of which provide a haven for wildlife. Hike is a moderate, 60 minutes, 1.5-mile loop.
Saturday, June 3 | 10 AM | Hetzel Refuge – Breakneck Hill Rd, Middlebury | Complimentary , but registration required | Registration will be open May 10

Whittemore Sanctuary Hike

Land Management Volunteer and Board Member, Jeff Sherman, will lead this summer hike of the Whittemore. It has an extensive 8-mile trail system, which winds through a range of ecological habitats, including woodlands, streams, ponds and a large bog. The bog and wetlands support endangered, threatened and rare plants. The forest on the property is, historically, one of the oldest privately managed forests in Connecticut, containing planted white pine, regenerated oak and several large laurel and tulip tree stands. Hike is a moderate, 90 to 120 minute, 3-mile loop.
Saturday, July 8  | 10 AM | Whittemore – Rt 64 (Sherman Hill), Woodbury | Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER

Nature Sketching on the Go

Take your sketchbook on a summer hike! We’ll be walking the Flanders trails with several stops to do quick sketches of the views and scenery.  Get a chance to draw some green landscapes and flowering meadows.  Beginners & more experienced artists all welcome.  Please dress for the weather and bring plenty of water and your own drawing materials.
Saturday, July 15  | 1 PM | Sugar House | $5 members & $10 non | REGISTER

Fleming Preserve Hike

Join Flanders Board Member and Land Management Committee Chair, John Trainor, on a hike on our Fleming Preserve. The Fleming 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, August 12  | 10 AM | Fleming Preserve – Cowles Rd, Woodbury| Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER

Manville Kettle Hike

Join Flanders’ Land Management Volunteer Cameron Gardella on a summer hike of the first property held in trust by Flanders. This unique property contains an open field, mixed trees and a swamp. Located in the center of town and the preserve is known as a “kettle” because geologists believe the depression was formed during the last ice age and filled with water from melting ice. Hike is easy, 60 minutes, 1-mile out and back.
Saturday, Sept 16  | 10 AM | Manville – School St & Judson Ave, Woodbury| Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER


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Needle Felting Nights
Join Rachel Gerowe of Redbarn Originals and explore the art of needle felting with a community of fellow adult felters. Needle felting is an easy-to-learn craft in which a barbed needle is used to sculpt wool into anything imaginable. Felters can register to attend and choose to bring their own projects and supplies and receive guidance and support among other felters, or purchase the featured kit that includes 2 needles, wool, and directions for a simple project suitable for beginners. A variety of other felting kits will also be available that night for purchase by cash or check if desired. Email Rachel at with any questions.
Thursday, August 24 – Fox Kit | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20 p/ class plus $25 p/ kit (plus tax)  | REGISTER
Thursday, Sept 28 – Mushroom Kit | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20 p/ class plus $25 p/ kit (plus tax)  | REGISTER

Women’s Intro to Trail Running

Join Jodi Wasserstein and Heather Dever for fitness and fun while learning about the trail running craze with like-minded women. We will describe the benefits and techniques of trail running in this 3 session running program which leads up to the Flanders Field & Forest 5K. No running experience necessary. Please wear sneakers or trail running shoes. All sessions: weather permitting.
Week 3 – Wednesday, May 24 | 10 AM | Van Vleck Sanctuary (approx 3 miles)| $5 members & $10 non | REGISTER

Goat Yoga

Connect with nature and furry baby Nigerian dwarf goats at Goat Yoga classes being held at Flanders’ Van Vleck Farm and Sanctuary. Experienced yoga instructor, Sharon Poarch, will lead guests in this one-hour gentle class suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced yogis & yoginis! Adorable Nigerian dwarf goats will be frolicking & cuddling with you as you flow through the class on the picturesque Van Vleck Farm. Participants should keep in mind that they’ll be outside, practicing with live animals and some degree of messiness (and a LOT of silliness) may be involved so they should dress accordingly, wearing comfortable clothes and bring along a yoga mat or towel.
Sundays, June 4, July 16, Aug 20 & Sept 17 | 6 PM | North Barn | $20 members, $25 non & $10 ages 15 and under | REGISTER

Flanders Artist Day 2023

CALLING ARTISTS IN ALL MEDIA! Join us for a day of creating en plein air art inspired by the picturesque grounds of Flanders’ Van Vleck Farm & Nature Sanctuary. Then participate in a group show of the resulting work. The exhibit will run from Oct. 13–22 with on artists’ reception on opening day.
Saturday, June 10 | 9 AM – 2 PM | Van Vleck Sanctuary, 5 Church Hill Rd | Complimentary, but registration required |  REGISTER

Wild Edible Plants and Fungi of Summer

Join The 3 Foragers as they teach the edible plants and fungi of summer with their original photos and recipe ideas featured in an educational slideshow, and finish with a walk outside to put some of those newly learned skills to the test. Learn how to identify, sustainably harvest, and prepare the wild foods of summer, from beach plums to invasive wine berries, including some of the choice summer fungi like chanterelles and the myriad of pored boletes.
Saturday, June  17 | 10 AM | Sugar House | $10 members & $15 non |  REGISTER

Preserves, Pesto and Pickles

Join us at Flanders for this summer series in Natalie’s kitchen! These demonstrations will cover making strawberry jam, pesto, and quick pickles. The instructors will be using fresh and local ingredients from the season’s harvest. You will learn techniques and new recipes that you will be able to make for yourself. Space/class size is limited.
Tuesday, June 20 – Strawberry Jam  | 7 PM | Van Vleck House | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER
Wednesday, July 19 – Fun with Pesto |6:30 PM | Van Vleck House | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER
Saturday, August 12 – Fun with Quick Pickles | 1 PM | Van Vleck House | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Life and Art of William Kent

Flanders Art Curator, Marc Chabot, will lead this presentation and talk on CT artist, William Kent. He was a carver of sculptures in wood and stone and a prolific printmaker while living in relative obscurity in rural Durham, CT until his death in 2012. The talk will examine Kent’s training, his life’s work, and how his work reflected his creative vision and desire to call out corruption, greed; nurturing respect for and harmony with our natural world.
Friday, July 21  | 7 PM | Studio | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Insects at Night!

Are you curious about nocturnal insects? Everyone’s familiar with daytime insects, but rarely have a chance to see the array of moths, beetles, and other insects who wait until dark to emerge from their daytime hiding places. We will be collecting, observing, and learning about nocturnal insects and their relatives. This is a great family program. Bring a headlamp or flashlight and a sense of adventure!
Friday, August 18 | 8 PM | South Barn | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Wild Edible Plants & Mushrooms of Autumn

Learn how to identify, sustainably harvest, and prepare the wild foods of autumn, from acorns through minty wintergreen leaves, including golden honey mushrooms and maitake, the “dancing mushroom.” Join us for an engaging talk with The 3 Foragers to learn about edible plants and fungi, how to identify them, and recipe ideas! We will start with a slide show and head outside to walk around the grounds.
Saturday, Sept 2 | 10 AM | Sugar House | $10 members & $15 non | 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


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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