Each spring the Winooski Valley Park District hosts nearly 300 fifth-grade students from schools within the WVPD’s member municipalities (which includes Colchester) to the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington for a fun filled day of hands-on environmental education at the annual “Conservation Field Day.” This year the WVPD will be celebrating the 28th Conservation Field Day on May 21. This event was started in the spring of 1986 to provide quality environmental education to schools within the WVPD’s seven member municipalities and to support the WVPD’s mission of providing a hands-on nature based learning experience in the setting of its “outdoor classrooms.”
The day kicks off with a performance from the Lake Champlain Retriever Club at the Opening Ceremony. After the ceremony, students rotate through a selection of 30 workshops focused around a range of conservation and environmental related topics. Students learn about composting, seed planting, birds, wildlife, how to tie fly-fishing flies and knots, primitive fire starting, Leave No Trace and stewardship ethics, orienteering skills, how to identify native and invasive plant species, what type of creatures live in ponds and wetlands, and more.
The WVPD is able to provide this experience thanks to the many dedicated volunteers that come from conservation organizations from across the state who donate their time to lead the many engaging workshops. Workshop leaders include professionals from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Vermont Fish and Wildlife, Lake Champlain Basin Program, Chittenden Solid Waste District, Shelburne Farms, Green Mountain Club, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Ethan Allen Homestead Museum, Parson’s Farm, Lake Champlain International/Let’s Go Fishing Program, VNA Family Room, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps, UVM Watershed Alliance, Mississquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery, Catamount Trails Association, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Community Garden Network, and Burlington Area Community Garden.
Thanks to the generous donations from Hannaford in the New North End, Healthy Living, Burlington Bagels and Starbucks on Shelburne Road, the WVPD is able to provide breakfast and coffee for the workshop leader volunteers, a snack for the students and a special treat for everyone.
Once the workshops are finished, the students come together for a community picnic in the afternoon.
For more information on the event contact Lauren at 863-5744 or at email@example.com. The Winooski Valley Park District is a non-profit municipality whose mission is to plan, acquire, and manage lands and waters within the boundaries of its member municipalities in the Winooski River Valley for purposes of conservation, preservation of natural areas, establishment of parks, and resource-based education and recreation. The WVPD’s member municipalities are Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Jericho, South Burlington, Williston and Winooski.