By Aaron Retherford
Nature lovers might dread the months where white snow blankets the vast green landscapes of Vermont. If they don’t ski or snowboard, they might as well join the bears in hibernation.
But North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier isn’t deterred by the cold, dark winters of central Vermont. In fact, NBNC offers a recurring activity that allows participants to connect with nature during the winter months.
At 7 p.m. on January 23, NBNC will host its first Full Moon Snowshoe Hike of the season. The cost is $5 for members, $10 for non-members. It includes snowshoes for those who don’t have them as well as hot chocolate.
Participants are able to warm up around a fire before going out for the approximately 45-minute long walk around the perimeter of the field at the nature center.
Mary Zentara, Lead Forest Preschool Teacher, has worked at NBNC for two years, but this will be the first time she has led a Full Moon Snowshoe Hike at the nature center.
“This really provides a fabulous opportunity for people to connect with nature and the community in the light of the moon,” she said. “People can expect to learn about local natural history, specifically wildlife behavior in winter. As we move along, I expect to find wildlife tracks, basically stories written in the snow. We have the opportunity to become detectives and decode the mysteries of wildlife in winter.”
In the past, these walks have been geared toward adults, but Zentara said children are definitely welcome. The walk is all flat, so it should be easily-accessible even for first-time snowshoers.
Participants should be aware of the weather and temperature. If it’s cloudy, headlamps might be useful for visibility. The moon will provide plenty of light on a clear night.