NMC Commentary

Can I Get My Steps in The Great Outdoors?

Yes, you can! We are so fortunate to have such beautiful natural surroundings here in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. This provides us with so many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in a safe, accessible way while relaxing and getting more physical activity into our days.  This summer, RiseVT is presenting a Nature Series of 14 different nature walks on its calendar of Show Up events. These outings are led by four local experts and enthusiasts who are partnering with RiseVT. Best of all, these events are free and open to the general public!

The series begins with a 10am-Noon walk on Saturday, June 8 in the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge in Swanton as Paul Brown leads an easy to moderate hike to explore the diverse habitats of reptiles and amphibians. On Sunday, June 9, Mike Cain will lead an 11am-1pm family friendly hike through the 100-Acre Wood in North Fairfax. On Saturday, June 15, Kurt Valenta will lead a 10am-Noon walk for all ages through the Steven Young Marsh in Swanton, exploring all the various flora and fauna in several different habitats.  On Tuesday, June 25, Kurt will lead a 5:30pm-7:30pm “Introduction to the Forest” walk for all ages and abilities in the 84-acres of the Sheldon Woods. On Saturday June 29 from 8am-10am, “the Bird Diva” Bridget Butler will lead an exploration of the walking trails at the Round Pond in South Hero.  She will explain how to use EBird to document sightings and participants are encouraged to bring binoculars for an even better view. On Sunday June 30, Paul will lead a 10am-Noon “easy to moderate” hike within the St. Albans Town Forest with a discussion about forest ecosystems and landscape changes. On Sunday, July 7, Bridget will lead another birding outing, this time from 8am-10am at the Pelot’s Point Natural Area in North Hero. Remember those binoculars! On Saturday, July 13, Kurt will lead a 10am-Noon “stroll with a view” on Minister Hill in Franklin, featuring views stretching from Lake Champlain to Montreal on a clear day! On Sunday, July 28, Paul will speak about wildlife ecology and reading animal tracks as part of a 10am-Noon easy to moderate hike in the Silver Lake Woods Natural Area in Georgia. On Saturday, August 3, Mike will lead a 10am-Noon “trek through the trees” in the St. Albans Town Forest among the many varieties of trees and plans. On Wednesday, August 7, from 5:30pm-7:30pm, Kurt will lead a group on the Enosburg River Walk, leaving from the Enosburg Elementary School. On Saturday, August 17, Kurt will lead a 10am-Noon walk through the trails of the President Chester A. Arthur Homestead in Fairfield, providing a family friendly opportunity to “walk, clamber, and explore!” On Sunday, August 18, Bridget will lead a “birders’ paced” 8am-10am hike on an old railroad trail at the Mud Creek Wildlife Area in Alburg. The series will conclude on August 25, with Mike leading a 10am-Noon “lakeside adventure” walk in the woods by the lake at the Silver Lake Woods Natural Area in Georgia.

What a wonderful array of opportunities to explore many of the natural areas in our community!  No pre-registration is necessary, and you can attend any number of show ups.  These are free, fun, family friendly events hosted by great partners who are truly ambassadors for both wellness and nature in our community. We are so grateful that Paul, Mike, Kurt, and Bridget have partnered with us on this series.  Please watch the RiseVT social media feeds for details as each show up nears or call the RiseVT team at 524-1217 for additional specifics. The summer Show Up calendar can be found at https://fgi.risevt.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_RiseVTFGI_SummerShowUpCalendar-11x17_-DF.pdf.  I hope you will join in and enjoy getting your steps in the great outdoors!

— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer