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Amy Butler's Blog (11)

Embracing Winter, Scandinavian Style! by Mary Zentara at The North Branch Nature Center, Vermont

It is zero degrees out and the snow is falling. As I write this blog, my seven year old daughter is outside standing perfectly still next to the bird feeder hanging from a tree branch. Her hand is outstretched and holding a small pile of black oiled sunflower seeds. The warmth of her bodied is sealed in many layers and a balaclava that is covering her chin, cheeks, and nose. A thick hat sits atop her head and the only part of her body that is uncovered is a narrow band around her…
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Added by Amy Butler on February 16, 2015 at 10:34am — No Comments

First Week of Forest Preschool at The North Branch Nature Center

I noticed two major signs of fall this week:  the temps were crisp and cool in the morning, and eager 3, 4, and 5 year olds started their first week of Forest Preschool!  Being outside the whole time, the children used their imaginations and took advantage of the forest to have a grand old time.
Our days always start with "Loose Parts Play."  As Forest Preschool teachers, we embrace the adage, "One man's trash is…
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Added by Amy Butler on October 21, 2013 at 2:59pm — No Comments

Building Our Play Spaces

 The Forest Preschoolers are active, imaginative, and LOVE to build.  They love to create their worlds, and will craft pretty much anything they can get their hands on into elaborate scenes.  Much of our mornings focus around building in some form, and pretty much everyone…
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Added by Amy Butler on October 21, 2013 at 2:57pm — No Comments

Quiet in the Forest

Quiet in the Forest

It's the beginning of all our ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) programs in surrounding schools and the students have fallen back into our outdoor learning routines beautifully. The crisp fall air, the stunning colors of autumn and…
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Added by Amy Butler on October 21, 2013 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Look What We Found!

Look What We Found!

by, Amy Butler

North Branch Nature Center

Montpelier, Vermont



The following conversation was recorded this spring in Harrison Field during an ECO day with children from Union Elementary School.  …

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Added by Amy Butler on July 25, 2012 at 6:23pm — No Comments

One Teacher, One School, One Community



I love my job. I get to be outside wandering through streams and navigating forests with some of the most incredible human beings,..children. I can not tell you how much I learn from my young friends in a simple blog post. I have learned patience, compassion, self efficacy, resilency, and the process of healing.  For the last 7 months I have been working with a…
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Added by Amy Butler on April 6, 2012 at 1:29pm — 1 Comment

5 Ways to Make it Better

5 Ways to Make it Better…

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Added by Amy Butler on March 9, 2012 at 2:16pm — No Comments

If A Child Picks Up a Stick in the Forest,.....

What happens if a child picks up a stick in the forest? It's not a question of if, because they do and they will! When a child does pick one up, what does that stick become? Working with school teachers, this is one of the first concerns of being outside with a classroom of curious children. Do we let them play with sticks? And what does it look, feel, and sound like if 20 children are wielding sticks in the forest? Laying down a rule of "no picking up sticks" is like taking…

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Added by Amy Butler on February 15, 2012 at 11:45am — 2 Comments

All Day Outside

Exploring a winter creek

It's another…

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Added by Amy Butler on February 15, 2012 at 11:42am — No Comments

ECO - Educating Children Outdoors - Winter Learning in Vermont

Frank the River Otter and 12 Kindergartners

Frank in  the classroom 

Who's your favorite river otter?…

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Added by Amy Butler on January 27, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments

ECO- Educating Children Outdoors

ECO - Educating Children Outdoors

The ECO program at North Branch Nature Center is a new project that helps reconnect children with the natural world and foster stewardship in their communities.  Through collaboration with public schools, preschools, and daycare facilities, ECO helps to open the doors to the joy of learning outside in all kinds of weather. By using city parks, public lands, and other local green spaces…
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Added by Amy Butler on January 26, 2012 at 5:43am — No Comments

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