Conservation Psychology Institute 2016
Jun 12 – Jun 15 all-day
In Bloom in Vermont: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education
Jun 13 all-day

In Bloom in Vermont: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education

kids balancing on log

After hosting two Spring In Bloom conferences in Maine and New Hampshire we travel to Vermont. On Monday, June 13, we’ll convene exemplary Vermont early childhood educators from downtown to down on the farm for In Bloom in Vermont. Please also tell any West Coast friends to keep their eyes open for In Bloom in Santa Barbara on November 5, 2016. Each conference will feature unique nationally recognized keynote speakers and workshops by local practitioners. All events will focus on the educational and health benefits of children being in the natural world.

9:00 am Opening Circle

9:15–10:15  Morning Keynote

Early Childhood Environmental Education: Policy Progress with an Eye Toward the Future

Linda Rhoads, Alliance for Childhood, Annapolis, MD

Yes, a policy overview can be exciting! With a growing emphasis on the importance of early childhood education, what are the implications for outdoor and environmental education for young children? There is energy and momentum to support getting little ones outside and Linda will share her perspective on the national policy landscape; the implications on practice, and opportunities for nature-based early childhood programs to have a voice in the conversation.

Linda Rhoads has worked to promote the value of outdoor and environmental education for more than fifteen years. In a variety of roles, she has led successful advocacy campaigns resulting in the passage of bipartisan education legislation at both the state and federal levels. These policy successes were due in large part to her leadership through regional workshops, summits and one-on-one coaching of individuals to strengthen their advocacy skills for greater effectiveness and impact.  Linda is focused on strengthening and empowering adult leaders who are working on creative ways to get kids outdoors.

10:30 am-12:00 noon  Morning Workshops

  • Patch of Sunlight in a Wood
    Joplin James, Shelburne Community School, Shelburne, VT
  • Why We Build Fires: Cultivating Attention, Observation and Tenderness
    Amy Butler, Director of Education, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, VT
  • Nurturing through Nature: Beginning a Nature-based Program at Home, Laura Branca, Little Birch Nature Preschool, Johnson, VT
  • Where Did My Shadow Go?  Hannah Lindner-Finley, The Gordon School, East Providence, RI
  • Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Gentle: Cultivating Care and Responsibility Through Authentic Nature Play
    Jen Brown,Four Winds Nature Institute, Chittendon, VT and
    Joanne Pye, Early Childhood & Special Educator, formerly at Caverly Preschool, Pittsford, VT

1:00 – 2:00 pm  Afternoon Keynote

Helping Heroes: No Hero Too Small

Charles Winkelman, Preschool Teacher, Burlington Children’s Space, Burlington, VT

It’s a bird . . . it’s a plane . . . it’s the Helping Heroes! Outfitted with costumes, trash bags, and garden gloves, the Helping Heroes is a child-directed civic-oriented curriculum at Burlington Children’s Space. Learn how it came to be, and how building connections between children, teachers, and the Burlington community helped engrain children in their community, giving them a strong sense of purpose. From picking up trash to writing letters to the legislature and saving endangered species, no job is too big or small for the Helping Heroes.

Charles Winkelman received his degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Vermont in 2011. As a civically and politically minded person, he has worked with many local community organizations to enrich the lives of children. Charles currently serves on the city’s library commission and and is the Chair of the Burlington Progressive Party. He resides in Burlington, VT and has spent several years performing improv and standup comedy.

2:15 – 3:45 pm  Afternoon Workshops

  • Language Development and Nature Education
    David Sobel, Antioch University New England
  • Early Childhood Guidelines for Excellence in Early Childhood Environmental Education
    Linda Rhoads, Alliance for Childhood, Annapolis, MD
  • Giving Community Voice to Our Youngest Citizens through Service Learning
    Jed Norris, Shelburne Farms and Charles Winkleman, Burlington Children’s Space
  • Cooking in the Mud Kitchen
    Mary Zentara, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, VT
  • Forest Days: One Day, Every Week, All Year, Outside!
    Eliza Minnucci and Meg Teachout, Ottauquechee School, Hartford, VT

3:50 – 4:00 pm  Closing Circle


Open the Conference Brochure




Vermont Co-sponsor Logos


Critical Skills Institute-Northeast Kingdom
Aug 8 @ 8:00 am – Aug 12 @ 4:00 pm


For Teachers in northern Vermont and northern New Hampshire

This Summer open-enrollment Critical Skills Institute will meet on the following dates:
Monday, August 8 – Friday August 12, 2016
from 8:00am-4:00pm.

A certificate for professional development hours will be provided. Participants may choose to take this weeklong institute for graduate credit for an additional registration fee of $350.

Group discounts are available for 4 or more teachers from the same district.

This course will be held at The Barn at Riverside, 30 Lily Pond Road, Lyndonville, Vermont.

Visit these website links for more information on the Critical Skills Program.

The Critical Skills Classroom
A Critical Skills Institute

Individual Registration–$700 each
Group Rate-for a team of four teachers from the same district–$650 each
Staff at Riverside Academy–$625 each

For more news and events, visit the AUNE News page and the AUNE Event Calendar.