This post appeared first in our late summer 2014 issue of Chip Notes.
Do you need a place to sit, feel the breeze across your face, see the clouds rolling across the sky, hear the brook cascading over rocks, listen to the sounds of birds singing, chirping, and calling to each other? If so, come visit the Museum’s new treehouse. Rain or shine, it’s waiting for you.
For years, the Museum’s Board members and staff have wanted to create a treehouse: a sheltered, elevated outdoor space, one more accessible for people of all abilities than some other outdoor spaces. We imagined a place for reflection, teaching, observation, and restoration. Last year’s flood interrupted our actual plans at first. However, with some unexpected volunteer assistance (an entire class!) and a little coordination with other needs, we have been able to roll the treehouse into the Bridges to Birds project… and complete it. (Find out more about the rest of the Bridges to Birds project on page 3.)
This project really began years ago and would not have happened without the insights, connections, funds, labor, and services donated by Bob Spear, Gale Lawrence, Dann Van Der Vliet, Mae Mayville, Shirley Johnson, Becky Cozzens, Evergreen Roofing, and the Essex Rotary Club. The treehouse itself and a wide walkway leading to it were built by the Center for Technology, Essex. The students, under the direction of their teachers, Shawn Rouleau and Brian Japp, designed, built, and installed an entire timber frame structure that is accessible to visitors of all ages. The students impressed us all with their skills and dedication.
Our treehouse is built out over a long stream bank to allow for elevated points of view and unique listening opportunities. When weather and foliage permit, the peak of Camel’s Hump can be glimpsed above the trees. Sherman Hollow Brook tumbles below, often hidden, delighting the ear. Nearby hemlock, apple, and maple trees provide perching and gleaning territory for many small songbirds. The wide, nearly level gravel path to our “elevated bird blind” begins near the back lawn, winds through new garden beds, tucks behind the dogwoods, and meets a short bridgeway to the treehouse itself.
The treehouse gives us an additional space with completely different perspectives, allowing new outdoor programming options. A recent grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Small and Inspiring program will help fund development of “Connections in the Canopy” activities and curricula.
We thank all of you who helped bring this vision into reality and we hope everyone will come visit. It’s for you.
While the four-year old (L) picked and munched on fresh beans from the garden, I noticed some birds in a dead tree. Red-eyed Vireo, a young Eastern Phoebe, and wait! Oh! A warbler? A Wilson’s? That would be cool, a first in my yard.
Me: Hey L, there’s a really cool bird in the tree; I think it’s a Wilson’s Warbler. I’m going to go set up my scope to get a good look if you want to come look at it.
More or less alternate Sundays, May 18 – October 31 • 2 – 3pm
(Next ones are June 15 and 29)
Welcome to the 2014 “Sundays for Fledglings” series. Come discover birds with us, from feathers to flying, from art to zoology. Want to develop mad skillz in observation, research, and goofing around? Yes! Earn Your Junior Birder Badge! If you already have one, we will help you become an even better birder, biologist, or artist!
Programs runs more or less alternating Sundays May – October. Keep an eye on the calendar for Monthly Themes, schedule changes, and more!
Perfect for kids aged 5-9 (siblings welcome). Free with admission; donations welcome • Pre-registration is helpful and please check the schedule
Join us for stories about birds and more. Intended for pre-schoolers but all ages are welcome. Stories are followed by a craft project, music or nature walk, depending on the topic and the weather. Got a favorite book about birds? Share it with us!
Free with admission; donations welcome • Pre-registration is not necessary
Summer storytime dates: Tuesday, June 10 • 10:30am – 11:30am Tuesday, July 8 • 10:30am – 11:30am Tuesday, August 12 • 10:30am – 11:30am
Come on by to learn about and celebrate the Great Backyard Bird Count!
Observe and record birds in our “backyard” and learn more about the Great Backyard Bird Count. We’ll share our experience in this long-running citizen science project, help you identify birds, pick the right feeders for your home, and more. The Museum exhibits and trails will be open; warm drinks and snacks for sale as well.
Saturday, February 15, 10am – 3pm Don’t need to register; we are open. Regular admission (free for Museum members always and for Green Mountain Audubon members today)