Program & Events


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Farm to Flanders:  Annual Benefit & Auction  

Join us on Sunday, August 25th for a unique dining experience, an amazing auction, and a fabulous raffle in support of your local area nature center & land trust. This annual event raises essential funds to continue our mission to provide opportunities to appreciate nature’s wonders and preserve land, inspiring lifelong learning about our natural world. Support Flanders again this year by purchasing your ticket to Farm to Flanders. You choose your participant support level.

 Don’t miss out on this very special event!

Sunday, August 25 | Van Vleck Farm & Nature Sanctuary | More Information | Purchase your tickets


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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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Marzahl Refuge Hike

Flanders Land Management Volunteer, Bob Burke, will lead a hike of our Marzahl Refuge. This property has a spectacular, quintessential New England winding stream—with multiple small waterfalls—through a pine forest. Hike is a moderate, 60–90 minutes, 1.5-mile loop.
Saturday, July 27 | 10 AM | Marzahl Refuge: Route 132 (Carmel Hill Rd), Woodbury | Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER

Hike the Hetzel

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 moderate, 60 minutes, 1.5-mile loop.
Saturday, Aug 17 | 10 AM | Hetzel Refuge: Breakneck Hill Rd., Middlebury, CT | Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER

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, Sept 7 | 10 AM | Whittemore Sanctuary: Rt. 64 (Sherman Hill Rd.), Woodbury | Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER

Senior Hikes with Arthur

Join retired Flanders Executive Director, Arthur Milnor, for an easy to moderate casual walk taken on Conservation Partners of the Pomperaug (CPOP) preserved properties. Get outside, observe what’s happening in the natural world, learn something new and maybe even meet new friends. This hike is not just for seniors. Register for one or all hikes. All are welcome!
Tuesday, Sept 10 | 10 AM | White Memorial: Little Pond Boardwalk (Loop) Trail. Whites Wood Rd, Litchfield
Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER


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Nature Journaling

Join wildlife artist Melody Asbury as she guides adult participants on a nature discovery to create their nature journals using mixed media in a two-session class. Melody will provide ideas and inspiration for subjects for a journal and working time and guidance in starting a nature journal. She will show examples of fun materials that can be used in a journal and show examples from her journal. Bring a journal and any materials you would like to use.
Saturdays, July 13 & 20 | 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM | Studio | $70 members & $85 non | REGISTER

Conversations With A Beekeeper

An introduction to the life of the honey bee and its keeper. Equipment management, harvesting practices past and present, the challenges beekeepers face, and the importance of honey bees to our ecosystem and sustainable agriculture are some of the topics of discussion.
 Saturday, July 20 |2 PM | South Barn | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Fun With Pesto

You might be surprised how many different herbs and leafy vegetables can be used in pesto to transform any meal into a taste sensation! Nancy Taylor and Anne Westerman will bring fresh ingredients, demonstrate techniques, talk about the health benefits of fresh greens, and share recipes for you to enjoy at home.
Wednesday, July 24 | 6:30 PM | Van Vleck House |  $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Rhythm Of The Elements

Create rhythms and melodies that invoke fire, water, air, earth, and ether through drumming and vocal play. Connect to each other and the nature that surrounds us in this electrifying workshop. Anitra Brooks, a CT-grown musician and teaching artist, will demonstrate basic technique and rhythms on the djembe and other hand percussions to create a drum circle groove. Participants will learn songs from different countries, sing in multiple languages, and engage in vocal improvisation. Build community, nurture joy, and have fun!
Saturday, July 27 | 7 PM | Sugar House | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

*Program sponsored by the Green Feather Foundation

Goat Yoga is Back!

Connect with nature and furry baby Nigerian dwarf goats at Flanders.  Experienced yoga instructor, Sharon Poarch, will lead guests in this one-hour gentle class suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced! Adorable goats will be frolicking & cuddling with you as you flow on the picturesque Van Vleck Farm. Participants will be outside, practicing with live animals and some degree of messiness (and a LOT of silliness) may be involved so they should dress accordingly, wear comfortable clothes, and bring along a yoga mat or towel.
Sundays, July 28 and September 15 | 6 PM | North Barn | $15 members & $25 non, $10 ages 15 & under | REGISTER

Leaf Printing

Join local artist Joan Anthony as she demonstrates the technique of leaf printing, shows examples of leaf printing, and leads adult participants in learning how to print with leaves. Participants will make several cards and a small artwork using leaves and acrylic paint to create a leaf print. All materials will be supplied. Participants may bring fresh leaves, special papers, jars of acrylic paint, or rubber stamps.
Saturday, Aug 3 | 9:30 AM | Studio | $40 members & $45 non | REGISTER

Journey Dance!

Come move mindfully while exploring the elements with live music, surrounded by flowers. Open your heart through music, dance, and art.  Get grounded in nature, inspire your mind, balance your emotions, and connect with the community. Meditation and movement expert, JoJo Keane, will guide you through a joyful flow of movement to embody more grace in our lives and world. Bring a yoga mat or blanket. All ages, bodies, and abilities are welcomed and accommodated.
Saturday, Aug 10 | 2 PM | Sugar House | $30 members & $35 non | REGISTER

*Program sponsored by the Green Feather Foundation

Tales Of The Earth: A Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Screening

Calling puppet lovers of all ages! Join us for a collection of short puppet films from producer Heather Henson that celebrate the natural world, screened under the stars. Bring your picnic blankets and baskets early for a craft inspired by the films. The film screening will start once dark at about 8 PM. See the full lineup of films and learn more at
Saturday, Aug 10 | 5 PM | Sugar House | Complimentary members & $5 non | REGISTER

*Program sponsored by the Green Feather Foundation

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 that wait until dark to emerge from their daytime hiding places. We will collect, observe, and learn about nocturnal insects and their relatives. This is a great family program.  Please bring a headlamp or flashlight and a sense of adventure!
Friday, Aug 16 | 8 PM | South Barn | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Needle Felting Nights

Curious about needle felting? Come explore the magic! Needle felting is an easy-to-learn craft in which you 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 available for purchase by cash or check.
Thursdays, Aug 29: Hens or Sept 26: Bats | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20/class, plus $25/kit (+ tax) | REGISTER

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 14 | 10AM | Sugar House | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Sweet History Of Honey & Harvest

Learn the history of the honey harvest, the history of purposeful beekeeping, hives of past and present, the composition of honey, and why honey crystallizes. What makes honey so dark or so light?  How many varieties of honey are there? Why doesn’t honey need to be pasteurized? Learn the answers and much more during this engaging talk and taste five varieties of honey from The Humble Bee Honey Company!
Saturday, Sept 28 | 2 PM | South Barn | $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


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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 June book is Litchfield Country Journal by Edwin Matthews. More information
Every 4th Tuesday –  June 25 | 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

Please Note:  Program credit card fees are non-refundable


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

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

and receive a discount on programs!

our ongoing programs and events
at Flanders!