Open for 2020, finally

A note from our Director

child gazes into forest over railing of our walk-in treehouseAs you likely know, the Museum had to remain closed due to Covid-19. This was the first spring in 32 years where we didn’t open our doors on May 1. This was the first time since we started Early Birder Morning Walks (more than a decade ago!) that we couldn’t gather for to walk and watch spring migration together.

We have missed you! Although we were saddened to hear of people who were ill or lost their lives; we also are hugely grateful that, by all of us working together, we kept the numbers lower than they could have been. As the number of Vermont cases continues to be encouragingly small, the state is allowing some businesses to open (with restrictions in place).

We are happy to tell you that the Museum opened on Wednesday, June 3! Continue reading “Open for 2020, finally”

Exploring our trails and COVID-19

Yes, our trails are open! But we ask you to take extra precautions for now:

  • Please visit only if you live locally (within about 10 miles); current spread-prevention guidelines recommend this. If you are from farther away, we hope to see you later this year.
  • Please take extra care: we have limited or no cell service, and trails can be rough or uneven. Please don’t climb anything.
  • Please stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from each other. Pass with care and extra room. Give each other even more room if it is windy or if you are breathing hard (we have some good slopes!).
  • Please only travel or hike with people you with whom you are already sharing isolation/quarantine/shelter-in-place.
  • Wash hands before and after your visit with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching structures and do not share binoculars or phones if possible.
  • If you are not feeling well or have COVID-19 symptoms, please visit later when you are recovered.
  • Please, no pets. This is our policy for all of our trails, to protect ground-nesting and ground-foraging birds.
  • For additional information about staying safe while enjoying the outdoors, visit the State of Vermont’s website.
  • For further guidance about Vermont trail closures and COVID-19 safety in Vermont, review the VTGC / VTA Recreation and COVID-19 statement.

Call to Artists: Borders

Borders: illusions that constrain us [a call to artists]


illusions that constrain us

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum

What borders do birds encounter? Our maps do not typically reflect the territories they perceive, the ranges they travel, or the barriers they comes across. How do birds’ boundaries connect to human borders? To those of other species? Edges of things—physically, spatially, temporally— raise questions, not least of which is “Is it really there?”

We ponder this, wondering, how do and will these encounters and connections alter us, birds, and the borders themselves?

We seek works that share visions of birds, borders, and boundaries, now and into the future, for our 2020 art exhibit, Borders.

Continue reading “Call to Artists: Borders”

Call to Artists: Pollinate This!

Pollinate This!

art inspiring seeds of conservation

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum

We wander in gardens, foster habitats, explore ecosystems. Life buzzes, entwines, fosters, interacts—one species to another and another and another. Birds and insects and plants thrive together. Can we pause, notice? Can we let the outside in, become as intimately connected to the world around as a pollinated plant is to its pollinators?

We seek artworks that explore, examine, and express pollination—metaphorical and otherwise—for our 2019 art exhibit, Pollinate This!

Continue reading “Call to Artists: Pollinate This!”

Call to Artists: Common Grounds

 Common Grounds

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum
in recognition of 100 years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and its conservation consequences

Birds link us.  We need the same things: food, water, air, places to live. We humans have sometimes used laws to protect those needs we have in common. In 1918, the US Congress put into place the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—one of the first laws setting limits on what we could and could not do specifically with respect to migratory birds. Since then, we’ve asked new questions, discovered new ramifications, and come to new understandings about what the work of conservation entails. In order for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to be successful, people have to work together across geographic, political, socioeconomic, and ecological boundaries. We need to find—or create—common ground. What does that look like? Continue reading “Call to Artists: Common Grounds”

Give a Hoot, Get a Hoot! Donate $10 and

Give a Hoot, Get a Hoot! Donate $10 and we can thank you with a handmade owl.

Crocheted Owls by Intern Elizabeth Mitchell Spinney
Crocheted Owls by Intern Elizabeth Mitchell Spinney

Come on into the Museum to pick your own and donate! Call us if you’re far away; we shipped some to Alaska (for the donation plus postage)!  (802) 434-2167.

Flash Flooding at the Museum

Many of you may already know about the destructive weather in the Huntington area which caused substantial damage to many homes and habitats on July 3rd.

The good news is that the Birds of Vermont Museum’s buildings and collection were untouched.

Unfortunately, the torrential downpours last Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd, turned the normally serene streams through the property converged to create a roiling fury as the water rushed to the roadway. Sherman Hollow Road disappeared beneath a wide swath of water which tore into the runoff basin and over the paths to the Museum entrance and the bridge below. Three staff members, two children, and Bob Spear himself watched from the entrance doors as the flash flood sent one culvert down the surging rapids, caused trees to slide off their banks, and tumbled rocks together in thunderous chaos. Sherman Hollow Road was covered and breached by the water in several places, so it was well after closing time when we were permitted to walk to Main Road and meet our family and friends—leaving our cars behind until the roads were passable. (We have an online album if you’d like to see more: Flood 2013)

Please help us recover: donate if you can

Despite plans to close the Museum for a day or two while Sherman Hollow Road could be repaired, and an alternate route from the parking lot to the entrance could be designated, the visitors came anyway! The Museum has become a favorite destination for friends hosting out of town guests and nature-lovers alike. Even a flash flood couldn’t keep them away on a holiday week and for this we are grateful … we’d rather have a flood of people any day!

However, the truth is: the Museum faces a number of clean-up and repair challenges, from tree removal, stream bank restoration, electrical rewiring, new Museum access design and construction, and restoration of affected walking/birding trails. More needs will surely arise as the layers of debris and mud are scraped away.

In order to recover, the Museum requires funds for services which will address these challenges. We are looking at possible state and federal sources, along with private foundation support. We are are also making an appeal for financial contributions from our members and our community to help the Museum provide our visitors with attractive, accessible, and safe grounds for their visits to this unusual and inspiring institution.

Whether you have have $5 or $5000, all of it is helpful (and tax-deductible to the extent the laws allow).  We also have volunteer opportunities if you have time or if you prefer, and we’re open for visits and programs too! If you can, please pass the word along. Thank you!


We have enabled online donations through JustGiveNetwork For Good, and PayPal (use your favorite). Checks and donations by telephone/credit card are always welcome. Please follow us online (blog or facebook or twitter or google-plus) for more information and photos. And please help. At the moment, everything will go into our “Rainy Day Fund” but we will keep you posted with clearer or more specific projects and allocations.

Thank you so much.

Bob, Erin, Allison and Kir