Back in late February, as we were all watching the world shut down in response to COVID 19, Audubon Vermont was given some good news. In the ensuing cancellations and financial stress, it felt inappropriate to announce that we were awarded a $10,000 Education and Outreach grant for our programs through the Lake Champlain Basin Program. But now as we see schools increasing their capacity and we ourselves have resumed some education programs, it feels like a great time to share the scope of what this funding will allow us to do.
The Green Mountain Audubon Center is situated along the Huntington River, a tributary of the Winooski and part of the Lake Champlain Watershed. Each year, thousands of visitors of all ages come to learn from our naturalists. With $10,000 from the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s Small Education and Outreach Grants, Audubon Vermont will expand and improve its aquatic education program through updated curriculum, teacher trainings, the creation of a self-guided climate walk for visitors to the Green Mountain Audubon Center, and free public education events devoted to the Huntington River and its watershed.
As a result of these capacity building activities, early-childhood and afterschool educators will have tools to engage their students in aquatic learning and play. Additionally, the public will be more informed about climate change in the watershed, students will have hands-on experiences to support classroom learning, and the public will engage in recreation and species removal in the Lake Champlain Basin.
“This grant funding presents an opportunity to improve our education programs for children and make sure they address identified issues affecting the lake, including climate change, and present opportunities for conservation action,” says Debbie Archer, Audubon Vermont’s Education Manager. “We will also have increased capacity to offer public programs that address some of these same issues, like aquatic invasive species, to adults and families, as well as for programs on the recreation side of things. “
While COVID restrictions are still putting some limits on our intended outcomes, we look forward to the day when school field trips resume, and thank the Lake Champlain Basin Program for their generosity and flexibility as we all continue to navigate the pandemic. Look for public program opportunities on our events page vt.audubon.org/events.