Program & Events



Maple Season Volunteer Information Meeting
Maple sugaring time, a New England tradition, will be starting soon!

Each year Flanders taps and collects sap from dozens of trees both at the nature center and around the town of Woodbury. We invite anyone with an interest in maple sugaring to attend our volunteer information meeting. There will be an overview of the 2023 season and details on the many interesting volunteer opportunities.
Tuesday, Jan 24 | 7 PM | Virtual – Online | Complimentary but registration required | REGISTER

Maple Tapping Day (Weather Permitting)
It all begins when the temperature rises above freezing during the day and falls below freezing at night. These conditions trigger the sap to begin to flow up the tree. A healthy tree can produce a gallon of sap a day on a good day. It takes 40 gallons to make 1 gallon of syrup. No experience is needed for tapping and all ages and families are welcome to come to help out. Tree tapping day is all outdoors and very weather dependent. Those interested in taking part in tapping day should watch for further announcements on Flanders’ website and Facebook page. (Snow date: Saturday, February 11)
Saturday, Feb 4 | 9:30 AM & 11 AM | Sugar House | Complimentary but registration required | 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). The cost for the breakfast is $9 for adults and $7 for children. Children under 2 are free. All proceeds from the breakfast will benefit Flanders’ education programs. (Snow date: Sunday, March 12)
Sunday, March 5 | 8 AM – 12 PM| Woodbury Emergency Services Building, 25 Quassuk Rd

Maple Syrup Magic:  Field Trip Information
Bring your group or class to Flanders and receive a full sensory experience! Participants learn how to identify sugar maples, see where maple syrup comes from and how sap is collected and cooked in a working sugar house. They will also learn the history and folklore of how Native Americans and early settlers made maple products. Discover maple
math and finish with a taste of the final sweet product. This is a special 1-hour program.  A live-stream version of this program is available. $6 per attendee ($120 minimum)
Late February thru March | Call for more information

Annual Meeting
Please join us as we conduct our annual meeting. During the meeting we will elect directors, reflect on 2022’s accomplishments and share plans for 2023. We will also celebrate our volunteers, including announcing the
2022 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 11 | 6:30 PM | St. Paul’s Church, 294 Main St. South, Woodbury |Complimentary but registration required | REGISTER

Community Service 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!  For more information please contact the office or email Program Coordinator Ana Jordan.
Saturday, April 22 | 9:30 AM | Complimentary, but registration is required | 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 A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.   The Aldo Leopold Foundation has some wonderful information about the author, the book, and so much more: The book has had several editions.  Whichever one you decide to read will be fine.

Every 4th Tuesday, Next date January 24  | 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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Adventure Day At Flanders

Children in grades kindergarten through 5th are invited to come experience a “Flanders Adventure Day.” Whether they are off from school or homeschooled, they can spend time discovering the many ways animals adapt to winter. Dress for the weather because we will be taking a hike to find tracks and see who is active in the winter. This will be a fun filled day packed with exploring the great outdoors, and age appropriate stories, games and crafts.   Please remember to pack a snack, lunch and dress for the weather.
Region 15 Professional Development Day – Friday, Feb 17 | Half Day 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM or 12:30 – 4:30 PM OR Full Day 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM | Trail House | Half Day $35 members & $45 non OR Full Day $70 members & $90 non |  REGISTER

Winter Break – Monday, Feb 20 and/or Tuesday, Feb 21 | Half Day 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM or 12:30 – 4:30 PM OR Full Day 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM | Trail House | Half Day $35 members & $45 non OR Full Day $70 members & $90 non |  REGISTER

Region 14 Professional Development Day – Friday, March 3 | Half Day 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM or 12:30 – 4:30 PM OR Full Day 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM | Trail House | Half Day $35 members & $45 non OR Full Day $70 members & $90 non |  REGISTER

Good Friday – Friday, April 7 | Half Day 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM or 12:30 – 4:30 PM OR Full Day 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM | Trail House | Half Day $35 members & $45 non OR Full Day $70 members & $90 non |  REGISTER

Save the date for more adventure day programs

Monday, April 10 thru Friday, April 14

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!


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Deer in Connecticut

Are you curious about deer and their population in Connecticut? Join us for a presentation by Andrew M. LaBonte, a deer and moose biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. His talk will cover deer habitat, diet, and effect of development and climate change on the deer population. He will also discuss diseases affecting deer.
Wednesday, Feb 22 | 7 PM | Virtual – Online | $5 members & $10 non | Call to Register

Fisher Cats in Connecticut

Join us for a program about the elusive fisher cat, a member of the weasel family. Wildlife Biologist Katerina “Kat” Gillis will present an overview of the fisher cat’s history, habitat, diet and behavior. She will also discuss her research project that involved the use of game cameras to document the distribution of fishers in the state.
Tuesday, March 14 | 7 PM | Virtual – Online | $5 members & 10 non | Call to Register

Moose in Connecticut

Want to learn about moose in Connecticut?  Join us for a presentation by Andrew M. LaBonte, a deer and moose biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. His talk will cover the history, current status and expectations for the future of moose, the largest mammal in our state. Learn about the biology of the animal, its presence in Connecticut, and its potential for population growth relative to its habitat.
Wednesday, April 26 | 7 PM | Studio | $10 members & $15 non | Call to 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, Jan 25  POSTPONED UNTIL Friday, Jan 27 | 10 AM | Middlebury Land Trust’s Lake Elise Trail – Long Meadow Rd, Middlebury | Complimentary to members & $5 non |Registration is  CLOSED

Thursday, Feb 9 | 10 AM | Roxbury Land Trust’s  Orzech Preserve, Kress Family Trail – 2 Botsford Hill Rd, Roxbury | Complimentary , but registration required | REGISTER

Wednesday, March 15 | 10 AM | 3 Rivers Park – Jacks Bridge Rd, Woodbury | Complimentary to members & $5 non | REGISTER

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

Winter Field Drawing Hike

Take your sketchbook on an intrepid winter 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 cool winter trees! Beginners & more experienced artists are welcome. Please dress very warmly, especially for your hands, and bring your own drawing materials.
Sunday, Feb 12 | 1 PM | Sugar House | Complimentary to members & $5 non | Call to 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, Feb 18 | 10 AM | Fleming Preserve, Cowles Rd, Woodbury | Complimentary to members & $5 non | Call to Register

Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing)

Come experience a slow and somatic walk in nature. Forest Bathing, aka nature therapy, is restorative, supports health and healing, and leaves space for individual interpretation. Certified Nature and Forest Therapy guide, Maura Smotrich, will lead these walks to open your gateway to sensory awareness, practicing mindful movement, nature observation, and end with tea outside. Please bring a light mat or towel, and optionally: a journal, water, bug spray, sunscreen, clothing layers.
Monday, Feb 27 – Informational Session | 7 PM | Virtual – Online | Complimentary, but registration require | Call to Register

1st  Walk – Sunday, March 19 | 10 AM | Van Vleck Sanctuary, Studio Parking Lot | $25 members & $30 non | Call to Register
2nd Walk – Sunday, April 30 | 10 AM | Van Vleck Sanctuary, Studio Parking Lot | $25 members & $30 non | Call to Register

Manville Kettle Hike

Join Flanders’ Land Management Volunteer, John Trainor, on a spring 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. 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, 45 to 60 minutes, 1.5 mile out and back.
Saturday, March 25 | 10 AM | Manville Kettle – School St & Judson Rd, Woodbury | Complimentary to members & $5 non | Call to Register

Leavenworth Preserve Hike

Join Board Member TJ Oneglia for a guided hike of the Leavenworth Preserve. This 126-acre property contains former logging roads that have been developed into a low-impact trail system. Hike is easy to moderate, 60 to 90 minutes, 1.5-mile loop.
Saturday, April 22 | 10 AM | Leavenworth Preserve – Pilgrim Trail, Woodbury | Complimentary to members & $5 non | Call to Register

Mapping Invasive Understory Plants with Drones

Non-native plant species Japanese barberry and multiflora rose are a primary concern in forest ecosystem health and biodiversity in the Northeast United States. Nancy Marek, Founder and CEO of Bird Habitat Bot will be discussing how she is developing a method for detecting and removing invasive plants by using drones and mobile robots.
Tuesday, February 21 | 7 PM | Virtual – Online | $10 members & $15 non | Call to Register

Dams in Connecticut

Join guest speaker Charles (Chuck) Lee, CT DEEP Director of Dam Safety Programs, for a discussion about Connecticut dams. He will describe the various types of dams and the latest dam safety statutes and regulations.
Thursday, March 2 | 1 PM | Virtual – Online | $10 members & $15 non | Call to Register

Chainsaw Safety Course

Chainsaw Safety Course Bill Girard of Girard Custom Cut Hardwood is leading a training on chainsaw safety. This level 1 full day class focuses on introducing the participant to open face felling and the development of techniques to safely use it.  Topics covered include personal protective
equipment, chainsaw safety features, chainsaw reactive forces, bore cutting, preplanning the fell, and understanding hinge wood strength.
Saturday, April 1 |8 AM – 4:30 PM | South Barn | $150 per person | Call to Register


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The Magic Birding Circuit Eco-Tour:  Ecuador Adventure!

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

A choice of two itineraries this year! The West Andes Highlands and Tropical Rain and Cloud Forests or the second option that heads to the East Andes Slope and Amazonian Rainforest on the fourth day. Both itineraries offer varied ecosystems — Andes Highlands, Cloud Forests, and Tropical Rainforests! A wildlife and photo paradise.  Home to nearly 2000 Bird species, mammals, butterflies, flora and fauna. Waterfalls and observation decks!
BOTH TOUR DATES:  March 16–23, 2023: 7 nights/8 days |  Adventure A Information | Adventure B Information

Current Issues Surrounding Climate Change

Join Dr. Mitch Wagener, professor of climate ecology and entomology at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury as he discusses important issues surrounding climate change.

Clean Energy
A key to addressing climate change is shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This talk will include a presentation on the status of clean energy and why the future requires it.
Thursday, March 2 | 7 PM | Virtual – Online | $5 members & $10 non | REGISTER

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, Jan 26 – Pocket Heart | 6:30 PM | Studio | $10 p/ class plus $20 p/ kit (plus tax)  | REGISTER

Thursday, Feb 9 – Penguin | 6:30 PM | Studio | $10 p/ class plus $20 p/ kit (plus tax)  | REGISTER
Thursday, March 16 – Bunny | 6:30 PM | Studio | $10 p/ class plus $20 p/ kit (plus tax)  | REGISTER
Thursday, April 20 – Bluebird | 6:30 PM | Studio | $10 p/ class plus $20 p/ kit (plus tax)  | REGISTER

Charcoal Hearths
Have you ever come across large raised circular mounds while out walking in the woods? These 40-foot-wide circles are the remains of charcoal hearths on which colliers burned logs to create charcoal. Historians Peter and Barbara Rzasa will present on charcoal hearths that have been located on the Whittemore and explain the charcoal making process used in the nineteenth century to power Connecticut’s iron, steel and brass industries.
Thursday, Feb 16 | 7 PM | Virtual – Online | $5 members & $10 non | REGISTER

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia Sialis)

Roundtable Discussion 
Come join us for a roundtable discussion on the bluebird nest box initiative. Share both your nest box successes and challenges.  Topics will include the bluebird life cycle, mating processes, nest box location, the importance of monitoring the boxes and predation problems. Together, let’s keep the initiative alive and attempt to provide the most ideal conditions for bluebird survival.  Open to everyone, experienced and newcomers alike.
Saturday, Feb 11 | 2 PM | Studio | Complimentary but registration required | Call to Register

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.
Saturdays, February 18 & 25 | 2 PM | Studio | $25 per bluebird box kit | Call to Register

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 26 | 11 AM | Shepaug Dam Recreation Area | $5 members & $10 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: Fridays, March 10, 17 & 24 | 7 PM | The Studio  —  FIELD TRIPS: Saturdays, April 1 & 8 | 10 AM | Local Apiary | $85 member & $120 non | Call to Register

Vernal Pools: Amphibian Habitat
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, Ph.D. biologist and DEEP Certified Master Naturalist Edward Boisits 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 18 | 7 PM | Sugar House | $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


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!