The Four Phases of Bridges to Birds


Bridges to Birds incorporates disaster recovery, resilience, and prior long-term plans to make outdoor experiences at the Museum accessible to all visitors, including people with limited abilities and families with small children. This four-phase project also expands conservation and educational opportunities and increases the number of locations available for quiet appreciation and contemplation of the natural world.

Connecting to People:
Bridge and Walkway

(still need $56,500)

This phase means

* New wildlife observation areas
* Fully ADA-compliant access from parking to Museum
* Protected riparian areas and stream bank stabilization
* Publicly visible donor acknowledgments
* Improved bird habitat
* Resistance to future flooding and precipitation events

We are working with the State of Vermont, the Town of Huntington, and civil, structural, and hydrological engineers to design and build a bridge and walkway after installation of a larger culvert under the road. Interpretive signs, plantings, and welcome information will follow.

Connecting to Nature:
Interpretative Trails

(still need $9,000)

This phase provides

* Outdoor exploration
* Citizen scientist access
* Routes for monitoring and birding walks
* Integration with and protection of woodland, meadow, and near-pond habitats
* Peaceful retreats
* Well-maintained trails

Volunteers, staff, and interns repair trails, footbridges, and handrails. We continue to work routing water away from trails, and providing sturdy footing where needed. New maps, signage, and guide materials will be created.

Connecting to New Perspectives:
The Treehouse

(still need $2,500)

This phase showcases

* An accessible (ADA-compliant) treehouse, reached by a gravel ramp
* Opportunites to observe birds in the forest canopy
* An outdoor classroom /exhibit space
* New nature-focused programs and activities

The treehouse is already open! We completed the construction thanks to a generous partnership with Center for Technology Essex, Evergreen Roofing, and dozens of volunteers. A grant from the Vermont Community Foundation helped with treehouse-specific programming. The last donations will fund educational signage and seating.

Connecting to Conservation:
Bird-friendly Gardens

(still need $2,000)

This phase includes
* Demonstration gardens
* Native plants
* Quiet contemplation spaces
* Habitat and foraging diversity for native birds
* Inspiring and encouraging Vermont gardeners and would-be gardeners

The Gardens phase integrates previous work by staff, interns, and gardeners on local, bird-friendly plantings, garden layout, and native species. Garden beds, paths, booklets, informative signs, and short education tours all extend the experience.


Bridges to Birds: where we’ve been

How it All Began in July 2013: Flash flooding at the Museum
Plus photos.
Last Year’s Update: Bridges to Birds: Connecting to People
More about the Treehouse: A New Point of View (from our Treehouse)
A booklet about it: Bridges to Birds (1Mb PDF)
And the collected posts (tagged “Bridges to Birds”)

Donate to help! We happily accept donations online through JustGive, NetworkForGood, and PayPal. You can also call (802) 434-2167 with your credit card info, or send a check in any amount at any time to

Birds of Vermont Museum
900 Sherman Hollow Road
Huntington, Vermont 05462

Connections in the Canopy

The Birds of Vermont Museum’s treehouse debuted one year ago, much to the delight of the Museum community. Constructed by the students and instructors at the Center for Technology, Essex, the new structure, tucked into the trees above Sherman Hollow Brook, has already proven its immense value as an observation deck and a learning lab. Children attending our Nestling’s Nook story hour and Fledglings Junior Birder programs have enjoyed the treehouse’s outdoor adventure atmosphere as they explore the connections birds have with the environment. Girl Scout troops from the Green and White Mountains Council incorporated the treehouse into their nature walks while participating in three special programs at the Museum this past year. School groups following our guiding questions packet ponder sensory input such as sight, sound, smell, and touch to develop an understanding of the elements of natural systems in their midst. Interpretive drawings of living and non-living components in the bird-filled habitat surrounding the treehouse help young people make connections within food webs and nutrient use and recycling.

Many visitors to the treehouse linger over a picnic lunch as they take in the 360-degree view of life within the tree canopy. Bob and Gale enjoyed regular lunch dates there throughout last summer while connecting with the magic of the Birds of Vermont. Situated over the brook, the treehouse enables new and experienced birders to hear and glimpse birds which favor habitats featuring flowing water, such as the Louisiana Waterthrush. During the spring breeding season, Early Birders’ walks regularly finish at the treehouse for debriefing and bird chats.

It’s been a joy to see how accessible and enlightening the treehouse is for our visitors; we look forward to new experiences in the coming days and months. We hope you will join us there too!