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Vermont Family Forests
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Conserving The Health Of Our Local Forest Community



Hogback Community College                                                 


One of the most popular outdoor activities in North America, birding is also fosters a greater understanding of our local biodiversity, ecology, and improved stewardship of our local landscapes. This course will immerse participants in the joy of studying birds in the field, initiating or enhancing a lifetime pursuit.

Taught by life-long birder Jim Andrews, students will learn to locate and identify many of our local bird species by field marks, form, song, and habitat as a first step to knowledge of their natural history and conservation. We will discuss how and why the birds found in our region change over the seasons, how and where to find them, and characteristics of some of our more common bird families. The course is intended for beginning and intermediate birders.

We will spend four Saturday mornings traveling by foot and by vehicle to search for, identify, and discuss birds between Lake Champlain and Lincoln Gap. We will begin with winter residents and migrants in February, check in on returning species and residents again in April, and then spend two mornings in June searching for and listening to our local breeding birds.

During the last 30 minutes of each four-hour field session, we will review the day’s species, their field marks, family characteristics, natural history, biology, and conservation. Jim will also assign a few species sheets to be filled out between meetings. Species sheets are a vehicle with which to learn more about the natural history and biology of the species that we are observing and help commit some of that information to memory. Students will also be asked to get out on their own between our meetings and keep a list of the species they have seen, along with their key field marks. Binoculars and bird books will be required.

About the Instructor

Jim Andrews is a full-time herpetologist and conservationist with a life-long recreational interest in birds. He regularly leads birding trips in the Lake Champlain Basin, compiles the Middlebury Christmas Bird Count, and teaches herpetology and field ornithology as an adjunct professor at UVM. His goal is to create enjoyable and interesting field experiences through which the teacher and students can learn together and as a result become better stewards of our environment.

Course Details

Date, Time, and Location of instruction:


Saturday, February 23, 2013 (back-up date Sunday, February 24)
Time: 8am – Noon
Location: Meet at Park and Ride at Junction of Rtes 7 and 22A in Vergennes
Topic: Birding Equipment; Winter Birding; Hardy Locals and Winter Visitors
Sites: Porter Bay, Mud Island, and the Champlain Basin
Saturday, April 27, 2013 (back-up date Sunday, April 28)
Time: 8am – Noon
Location: Meet at Park and Ride at Junction of Rtes 7 and 22A in Vergennes
Topic: Migrants Return
Sites: Porter Bay, South Slang, the Champlain Basin, and the Watershed Center
Saturday, June 8, 2013 (back-up date Sunday, June 9)
Time: 8am – Noon
Location: Meet at the Watershed Center on Plank Road in Bristol
Topic: Warblers, Song ID, and Ecological Niches
Sites: The Watershed Center and Lincoln Gap
Saturday, June 22, 2013(back-up date Junday, June 23)
Time: 8am – Noon
Location: Meet at The Watershed Center on Plank Road in Bristol
Topic: Applying Skills and Gaining Confidence
Sites: The Watershed Center and Lincoln Gap



Minimum and maximum number of students
Minimum: 8 Maximum:15

Fee: $160
Credit Hours*: 1 (16 hours of instruction)
*While our courses offer the structure and content of college courses, we are not seeking accreditation for Hogback Community College, nor do we currently offer credits for transfer to other educational institutions. Many teachers have taken Hogback Community College courses as part of their Professional Development requirements.

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc. Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.