Lamoille County Nature Center is a 40-acre nature preserve of diverse habitat owned and operated by Lamoille County Natural Resources Conservation District. The land was purchased in the early 1960's to allow vocational students to learn about forestry and agricultural practices. Since 1991 plans for an official nature center structure were envisioned and we hope one day the vision will come to light. Without the four walls the idea of the "nature center" expanded our mission to include environmental education programs to meet the needs of the people of Northern Vermont. The preserve offers two self guided nature trails, a small pond, an amphitheater, a willow nursery, and a council size Sioux tipi where our summer programs take place. Wildlife sightings are frequent, from the resident and prevalent snowshoe hare to a wandering moose whose tracks can be found throughout the year!
carrie1The preserve showcases the changing face of the Vermont landscape. Once farm land, natural succession has replaced the open fields with early sucessional species. Over the years, different land management practices have been applied to exemplify conservation strategies to maintain wildlife habitat. In doing so, unique micro-habitats provide an exceptional outdoor classroom setting to investigate of a variety of plants and animals. Techniques to maintain these habitats and different land management practices are demonstrated in guided tours, adult workshops, student led service-learning workshops, and chilldren's nature programs. The preserve contains these features:
* Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) - Throughout the property, land was managed using WHIP, an NRCS land management program available for landowners to create or maintain early succesional habitat, prune and release apple or nut trees, and manage invasive plants, to name a few. Find out more about WHIP by contacting the district, or open the NRCS WHIP Brochure.
* Conservation Pond - Built through an NRCS Program in the 1970's, the pond has naturally eutrophicated into a vernal pool creating a pleasurable picnic backdrop.
* Old Apple Orchard - Maintained for fruit production to provide forage for deer, bear, fox, and coyote, the apple trees are pruned and released on a regular schedule.
* Willow Nursery - Rows of willows were planted in 1990 to provide stock for willow bundles and stakes that are used in soil bioenginnering practices when restoring and protected riverbanks.
* Wildflower Field - Once the site of a maintained native wildlflower garden, the garden has naturalized to encompass a field of native wildflowers that bloom from early spring to late fall.
* Tipi and Educational Area - The council size Sioux tipi houses the day camp program for children throughout the summer. Each week provides a different theme to explore the environment and natural gems of the field and forest.