Friday Field Walks

2017 Friday Field Walk Series

Spotted Salamanders and spring ephemerals, trilobites and tapping maple trees – get outside this season by joining the UVM Field Naturalist & Ecological Planning Program’s annual Friday Field Walk series. These weekly outings are free, open to the public, and hosted by program students, faculty, and local naturalist professionals.

Please visit to read full descriptions and register for walks. All excursions typically depart from the lobby of Jeffords Hall at UVM. The schedule is subject to change, so register on the Eventbrite page and sign up for our weekly invitations. Contact for more information.

February 3rd: Camp Cooking and Winter Wildlife at Colchester Pond

Hosted by Chelsea Clarke Maria Dunlavey

This adventure will combine outdoor cooking with wildlife tracking and/or bird behavior depending on the snow conditions. We will go for a short hike with stops to check out any interesting wildlife signs we see and track wildlife on the ice if conditions allow. Then we’ll cook a hot lunch on camp stoves with chances to try out a couple of different kinds of stoves and gear and talk about winter camp cooking strategies. Join us to see what’s happening at Colchester Pond in winter and how well you can eat outdoors! Bring your own bowl, mug, and spoon/spork.

February 10th: Green Mountain Compost Tour

Hosted by Andy Wood

From garbage…to garden! Come learn about large-scale composting in Chittenden County.

February 17th: Botanical Drawing in Paradise

Hosted by Lauren Sopher

Are you feeling rusty or intimidated by sketching? Do you love sketching? Learn pointers about how to effectively connect pencil to paper as you let your muscles relax in the tropical haven of UVM’s on-campus greenhouse. Tropical plants will be our muse. Bring an unlined notebook or loose leaf paper and your preferred drawing utensil(s). A thematic snack will be provided! 

February 24th: Hidden in Burlington

Hosted by Sean Beckett and Samantha Ford

Join us on a treasure hunt for natural and cultural heritage hidden in Burlington’s own urban forests. Uncover architectural masterpieces in a neglected stream bed. Follow abandoned toboggan tracks to an ancient smuggler’s cave. Rediscover a long-forgotten marble quarry in an old oak forest. In this afternoon adventure, we’ll become explorers of our own overlooked and unordinary backyards.

March 3rd: “Burding” Burlington – March 3

Hosted by Bryan Pfeiffer

On this urban birding expedition we’ll chase waterfowl, gulls, maybe some eagles, and perhaps early spring migrants on the city’s waterfront. Pack binoculars, lunch, warm beverages, and more clothing than you think you’ll need. We’ll convene in the lobby of Jeffords Hall at 9:30 AM. If we have time, we’ll also visit Shelburne Bay before we wrap up around 1:30 or so. Hosted by expert birding guide Bryan Pfeiffer.

March 10th: A Morning of Maple Sugaring

Hosted by the Runcie Family

There’s a certain meditative charm to old-school maple sugaring: smoke rising from a red barn, sap dripping steadily into buckets, the syrup slowly thickening as it boils. As the snow melts and the streams thaw, celebrate spring in Starksboro with a taste test of Vermont’s most enduring tradition.

March 24th: Tour the Cultural Landscape of Shelburne Farms

Hosted by Samantha Ford

The Picturesque aesthetic emerged in 19th century America to unite the natural and built environments: architecture designed to enhance the natural setting. Tour Shelburne Farms to learn about the evolution of the ornamental farm and the visions of architects Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr. and R.H. Robertson.

March 31st: A Tale of Two Caves

Hosted by Alicia Daniel

Join us in a reading the winter landscape and tracking adventure while we explore the formations of two caves in Indian Brook Ravine (aka Devil’s Den Cave.)  This adventure has been a favorite site of UVM students for over three decades.  Bring a head lamp and wear warm clothes that can get dirty.  Whether you love caves or find them claustrophobic, the stories we discover on our trip through this hidden valley will make the day memorable.  Entering the caves is optional. 

April 7th: Glacial Geology of Bolton Notch

Hosted by Stephen Wright and Maria Dunlavey

What did Vermont’s landscape look like when it was covered by a mile of ice — and as the ice sheet melted away? Join geologist Stephen Wright for a tour of the Bolton Notch area, using landscape clues to decipher the surprisingly complex history of glaciers in the Green Mountains. 

April 14th: Vernal Chorus

Hosted by Gabe Andrews

Each spring begins anew as the ground thaws and pools of water come to life. Who are the first arise from their wintery lairs to welcome April showers? What senses can you use to explore the world of wood frogs and spotted salamanders? Walk with us through the amphibious world of vernal pools. 

April 28th: Trilobites of the Tropics – Exploring the Chazy Fossil Reef of Isle La Motte

Hosted by Lyra Brennan and Hannah Phillips

Travel northwest to Isle La Motte and back in time 480 million years ago to a warm equatorial sea that was home to long-extinct plants and animals. The limestone bedrock that lines Fisk Quarry and Goodsell Ridge is chock-full of fossils from species who thrived in an ancient ocean, when Vermont was located near present-day Zimbabwe. This Field Walk will unlock the geologic mysteries of Chazy Reef, an ancestor to modern coral reefs, and reveal its role in the evolution of shallow marine ecosystems on our planet. We will also delve into the geology and human use of Isle La Motte’s limestone, which was used to construct buildings on the island. 

May 5th: Spring Ephemerals

Hosted by Cathy Paris and Liz Thompson

Join us on one of our most celebrated outings, with a celebrity duo of botanists, on a celebration of our most handsome wildflowers! After months of black, grey, and brown, we will search far and wide for the first colors of Spring.

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