Programs and Events
Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust is uniquely positioned as one of the only sites providing outdoor environmental education programs that connect science, nature, agriculture and art for youth and adults in the region. Parents, students, teachers and people in the community see its 2,300 acres and rich variety of “natural assets” as an engaging, hands-on learning laboratory.
The largest audience for such programs has been school-aged children (including thousands who come on school field trips, annually) and families. A very popular summer camp series has annual attendance of more than 700 children and youth. Participants come from more than 30 towns, from Danbury to east of Waterbury and within Northwest Connecticut.
And, although Flanders already has a highly regarded, science-based, education program, in today’s world, greater exposure and involvement in a NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) is becoming critical to achieving success in the 21st century. Research has shown that students learn best when they have hands on involvement in the learning process. For students, especially those from urban areas, being out in nature can be a transformational experience. Area school systems, preschools and after school programs are seeking STEM based curriculum classes and outdoor environmental education. Flanders is ideally suited to meet this demand.
Flanders also offers dynamic programming for adults and families on such topics as sustainable living, preserving natural habitats, farming/organic gardening, conservation, arts and crafts, birding, botany, natural history and other related topics. Many of these programs emphasize a hands-on approach, such as growing food organically or raising farm animals, such as goats for milk, sheep for wool, and chickens. Other topics include natural crafts (herb/dried flower wreaths, spinning wool, making soap and candles, etc.). Experiential learning in our “outdoor classrooms” explores nature-themed and ecological topics, as well as artistic expression (painting, photography, etc.). In addition, some theoretical programs rely on films, lectures, and discussion of relevant texts on topics relating to nature, organic lifestyles and sustainable living.
Finally, Flanders hosts region-wide special events at the Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary, attracting thousands of visitors that educate people about rural New England traditions. These events include maple syrup demonstrations around March, raising farm animals, growing crops and food, and beekeeping etc. that are shared during Farm Day in May, our Faire Festival in July, and selling the works of accomplished artisans during our Artisans Market place in late November and early December. In addition, Flanders’ Buzz Russell Museum of Antique Farm Tools and Rural Life provides information and insights on the rural history and traditions of the Woodbury area.