Program & Events


Be sure to check back for Haunted Hike updates!


Calling All Artists!

Artists in ALL media are invited to participate in the upcoming Flanders Art & Photography Exhibit. The exhibit is being held in the historic Van Vleck House from October 13 to 22. Artists may submit up to 2 pieces of artwork.  All work must be “ready to hang”.  Please REGISTER (complimentary entry fee members & $10 non-members) early as this year’s event will combine art as well as photography and space is limited.  The deadline for submission is Monday, October 9.  Artist drop off / pick up instructions

Any questions about the Art & Photography Exhibit, please contact Michael Audette , Chair, Flanders Art Committee, or Joan Anthony, Member, Flanders Art Committee.

Haunted Hikes are Coming!

Volunteers needed! Preparations have already begun for this year’s Haunted Hikes. It takes many volunteers to make this spooky fun community event possible. We would love to have you join the team! There are many ways you can help from set-up/clean-up crew, parking attendant, character actor, or prop maker! This is a perfect opportunity for groups and/or students to complete community service hours. 

Please contact Flanders’ Program Coordinator Ana Jordan about becoming a Volunteer.


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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 Refuge.  Author: Terry Tempest Williams

Synopsis:  In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry’s mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic.
Every 4th Tuesday, Next date Sept 26  | 7 – 8:30 PM | Location TBA | 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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Art & Photography Exhibit

Come out and meet local artists and view their masterpieces. The artwork will be showcased in the Van Vleck House. An opening night wine and cheese reception is planned, which will include live music played by Brian Duford. The exhibit will be open to the public, thereafter, until Sunday, October 22. All are encouraged to attend and support the local arts!
Friday, Oct 13, Opening Night Reception | 6 – 8 PM | Van Vleck House | Complimentary
Saturday, Oct 14 – Sunday, Oct 22 – Daily Exhibit | 11 AM – 4 PM | Van Vleck House | Complimentary

The Great Pumpkin Carve!

We have LOTS of pumpkins to carve and you can help! Bring a friend and join us in carving pumpkins to prepare for Flanders’ Haunted Hikes. (Bring your own tools.) Will you carve something scary? Magical? Funny? Whatever you create for us, you’ll enjoy some festive fall fun!
Complimentary event!  Pumpkins will be available for sale!
Saturday, Oct 14 | 1 – 4 PM | The South Barn | Complimentary

Haunted Hikes:  Pirate Adventure

Join us for a Pirate Adventure at our 5th Annual Haunted Hikes!

Between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM, join a family friendly hike for a not-so scary walk in the woods. But, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, be a braver soul for a spine chilling walk in the dark woods. The later walks are not recommended for children under 12 or the faint of heart.  Be prepared for a night of adventure and dress for the worst of conditions!
Saturday, Oct 21 & 28 & Friday, Oct 27 | 5 – 8 PM | Sugar House | $9 per person | Call to REGISTER


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Farm School:  Fall on the Farm

Parents and children will love Flanders Farm School where kids can be “a farmer for the day” visiting and helping to feed the animals that call the Flanders North Barn home in a small group setting.
Friday, Sept. 29 & Saturday, Sept. 30 | 10:00 AM – 2 PM | Groups of 10 – 15 will explore every 30 minutes |  North Barn | $7 members & $12 non per adult.   Children are complimentary | REGISTER – Please call the office at 203-263-3711 x12 for a date and time.

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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New England Cottontail:  Habitat Research & Restoration

Join Emma MacDonald, environmentalist and educator, for a presentation about recent efforts to reduce the decline of the New England Cottontail, a native rabbit species. The discussion will cover state-wide efforts as well as habitat research and restoration activity right here at Flanders.
Sunday, Oct 15 | Sugar House | $10 members, $15 non & $5 for children under 12 | REGISTER

Wintering Birds

Do some birds winter in Connecticut? Which species? How do they survive? Join DEEP Master Naturalist Adam Drouin for a presentation on the common birds you might see during the winter. The talk will be followed by an activity where attendees will assemble and take home a bird feeder made using pine cones, twine, peanut butter (vegetable shortening will be available for those with an allergy), and bird seed. Bird Feeder Activity: appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Sunday, Nov 5 | Sugar House | $15 members, $20 non & $5 for children under 12 | REGISTER

Bats In Connecticut

Join CT DEEP Wildlife Biologist Devaughn Fraser who will present interesting facts on bats including their habitats, and where they winter, and updates on diseases that affect the bat population. You will also learn about bat counting programs that have occurred locally and statewide.
Wednesday, Dec 6 | Online – Virtual | $5 members, $10 non | REGISTER


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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, Oct 19 | 10AM | Black Rock State Park | Complimentary members & $5 non | Call to REGISTER
Wednesday, Nov 15 | 10 AM | Southford Falls State Park| Complimentary members & $5 non | Call to REGISTER
Tuesday, Dec 12 | Whittemore Sanctuary| Complimentary members & $5 non | Call to REGISTER

Leavenworth Preserve Hike

Join Land Management Volunteer, John Trainor, for a guided hike of our Leavenworth Preserve. This 126-acre property contains former logging roads that have been developed into a low-impact trail system. The hike is an easy to moderate, 60 to 90 minutes, 1.5-mile loop.
Saturday, Nov 18  | 10 AM | Leavenworth Preserve—Pilgrim Trail, Woodbury| Complimentary members & $5 non | Call to REGISTER

Black Friday Hike

Come out to Flanders’ Van Vleck Sanctuary to work off those Thanksgiving calories and avoid the craziness of shopping in those big box stores! Join us on a hike that will traverse our main campus. The natural habitats of the sanctuary, including fields, meadows, forests, wetlands, marshes, streams, and ponds, support a great diversity of wildlife species. All are welcome to attend and join in on the fun!
Friday, Nov 24  | 10 AM | Van Vleck Sanctuary – Sugar House Parking Lot| Complimentary members & $5 non | Call to REGISTER

Hike The Hetzel

Everyone is invited to come out and explore the Hetzel Refuge in Middlebury. The Hetzel is a pristine wooded refuge of 66 acres and offers prime observation areas for both birds and animals The guided hike by Beth Lyons and John Cavallaro traverses woodlands, hayfields, conifer plantations, swamps, and several man-made ponds, all of which provide a haven for wildlife. The hike is a moderate, 60 minutes, 1.5-mile loop.
Saturday, Dec 9  | 10 AM | Hetzel Refuge—Breakneck Hill Rd., Middlebury| Complimentary members & $5 non | Call to REGISTER

Are you currently a land trust volunteer and want to improve your stewardship work? Are you interested in getting involved in stewardship activities, helping to keep our lands preserved for future generations?
Come 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 the opportunity for discussion and sharing. Register for one or all three.

Mowing For Pollinators
Join guest speaker Laura Johnson, UVM Extension Pollinator Support Specialist, for a presentation and discussion on mowing considerations for insects, birds, and mammals.
Thursday, Oct 5  | 7 PM | Online – Virtual | $10 members & $15 non | Call to REGISTER

Biology & Management Of Beech Leaf Disease
Beech leaf disease causes premature leaf drop and thin canopies, which also makes the trees more susceptible to other types of pests. A foliar nematode, presumed to have arrived from Asia, threatens the health of beech trees in our forests and landscapes. Dr. Richard Cowles and Dr. Robert Mara will present recent developments providing a better understanding of its biology and management and the long-term prospects for beech trees in our forests will be discussed.
Tuesday, Oct 24  | 7 PM | Online – Virtual | $10 members & $15 non | Call to REGISTER

The Clean Dozen – Our Silent Heroes The Native Shrubs
Join guest speaker Joseph “J.P.” Barsky, research forester employed at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), for this discussion on native shrubs.
Tuesday, Nov 14  | 7 PM | Studio | $10 members & $15 non | Call to 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.
Thursday, Sept 28 – Mushroom Kit | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20 p/ class plus $25 p/ kit (+ tax)  | CLASS IS FULL – visit often to sign up for next months classes!

Thursday, Oct 19 – Pumpkin Kit | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20 p/ class plus $25 p/ kit (+ tax) | REGISTER
Thursday, Nov 16 – Owl Kit | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20 p/ class plus $25 p/ kit (+ tax) | REGISTER
Thursday, Dec 7 – Santa Kit | 6:30 PM | Studio | $20 p/ class plus $25 p/ kit (+ tax) | REGISTER

How To Be A Bad Host:  Backyard Tick Management

WCSU Professor of Biology, Neeta Pardanani Connally, will present on the risk of exposure to ticks and tick-borne diseases in CT. People who spend time outdoors, including in their own backyards, will benefit from learning about keeping themselves and their family members protected from tick bites that can cause Lyme Disease and other diseases. Common misconceptions about ticks will be addressed and evidence-based prevention strategies discussed.
Wednesday, Oct 11 | 7 PM | Studio | $5 members & 10 non | REGISTER

Ekphrastic Poetry Writing

An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Woodbury Poet Laureate, Sandy Carlson, will provide an introduction to ekphrastic writing, followed by a tour of the Art and Photography Exhibit in the Van Vleck House. All in attendance will have the opportunity to try their hand at writing a poem (or two) about the art alongside members of Woodbury’s Ekphrastic Poetry Group.
Saturday, Oct 14 | 10 AM  | Studio & Van Vleck House | Complimentary

Geology Field Trip to O & G Quarry

Have you wondered about Connecticut’s mysterious volcanic past? Join Flanders on one of two scheduled tours of O&G’s Southbury trap rock quarry for a field trip highlighting some fascinating geological facts and views of ancient volcanic rocks and minerals. O&G Industries has generously offered to open their quarry that day to Flanders field trip participants for a special geology program led by Professor Jennifer Cooper Boemmels of SCSU. Appropriate for all ages, a fun and informative slide lecture will be followed by a guided tour of the quarry to identify ancient volcanic rocks and minerals. The program is rain or shine, stormy weather would cancel.
Saturday, Nov 4 | 10 AM – 12 PM OR 1:30 – 3:30 PM |O&G Traprock Quarry, 236 Roxbury Road in Southbury | $10 members & $15 non | REGISTER

Zero Energy Homes

Climate change and the need for conversion to more sustainable materials are driving significant changes in how homes are constructed. Join architect, Kyle Cruz, as he walks us through the latest technologies and building methods leveraged to make new or existing homes more energy-efficient, healthier, and less impactful to the environment. Topics include home orientation, size, and building envelope, electrifying the home, solar power, as well as lowering the overall carbon footprint of the home.
Wednesday, Nov 15 | 7 PM |Online – Virtual | $5 members & $10 non | REGISTER

Visit The Magic Birding & Photography Circuit Ecuador

A Special Tour for Nature Lovers, Bird Lovers and Photographers at San Jorge Eco-Lodges & Botanical Reserves in Ecuador

Join Flanders for our 3rd consecutive trip to the Magic Birding Circuit—an exciting adventure to the East Andes Cloud Forest, Tropical Amazonian Rain Forest and Paramo. Visit San Jorge’s two beautiful newly built Eco-Lodges located inside the reserves. Home to some 1,600 bird
species, 130 Hummingbirds, mammals, seasonal butterflies and diversified flora & fauna. Feeders, observation decks tower overlooking the Forest canopy, hides, pristine hiking trails, Manakin Lek & Cock of the Rock Lek all on site. Includes group airport transport.
TOUR DATES: March 19–25, 2024: 6 nights & 7 days | Further Details Coming Soon

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

 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!