Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT
Add to Calendar 


Academy Elementary School 
860 Western Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301

Driving Directions 

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows, and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves,
and call out "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say
and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.

by Mary Oliver

Morning Workshops

Protocols for Wild Plant Foraging with Young Children
Ken Benton, Educator, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, VT

Mapping and Sense of Place
Hannah Lindner-Finlay, Kindergarten Teacher, Putney Grammar School, Putney, VT

Stick Play: The Power of Imagination
Anne Stires, Founder and Director, Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education, Alna, ME

Starting a Nature Preschool in a Public School
Emma Hallowell and Erin Tkaczyk, Nature Preschool Teachers, Guilford Central School, Guilford, VT

Snow Pants, Mittens, Hats . . . ELA? Yes!
Fun Activities to Do in the Snow
Amanda Hull and Lauren Skilling, Kindergarten Teachers, Hartland Elementary School, Hartland, VT

Coyote Mentoring with Young Children
Amy Hyatt, Co-Director, Vermont Wilderness School, Brattleboro, VT

Afternoon Workshops

Forest Friday Foodies
Jennifer Newberry and Amanda Morse, Kindergarten Teachers, Marion Cross School, Norwich, VT

Working with Special Needs in Outdoor Settings
Anne Ouwerkerk, Preschool Teacher, New London, NH

Connecting to Wintertime Activities through Imagination, Story and Movement in the Preschool
Carla Comey, Faculty, Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Gentle: Cutlivating Care and Responsibility through Authentic Nature Play
Emily Pals, Nature Program Coordinator, Four Winds Institute, Chittendon, VT and Joanne Pye, Early Childhood and Special Educator, formerly at Caverly Preschool, Pittsford, VT

School Days to Forest Days: Routines in the Winter Wild
Eliza Minnucci and Meg Teachout, ForestKinder, Tunbridge, VT

Let's Talk About Tracking: Following Stories in the Snow
Deb Kardane, Academic Support Teacher, Academy Elementary School, Brattleboro, VT and Joan Carey, Bonnyvale Environmental Center, Brattleboro, VT

More Information

Structure of the Day

8:00 am Registration Opens–Workshop Selections–Refreshments
9:00 am Opening Circle
9:15 am Morning Keynote
10:30 am Morning Workshops
Noon Lunch–Gonna Get Myself Connected–
Best Day Ever Movie
1:00 pm Afternoon Keynote
2:15 pm Afternnon Workshops
3:50 pm Closing Circle


Peg Smeltz 
Antioch University New England 
Join My Mailing List

Saturday, March 23, 2019
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Academy Elementary School
Brattleboro, VT 

In Bloom in Vermont:
Engaging with Pre-K to 3rd Grade Students
in Winter


Antioch University will host three In Bloom conferences this spring. The first, In Bloom in Vermont, will be held on the third day of spring, March 23, 2019, at Academy Elementary School in Brattleboro. We're well aware there will not be much in bloom in March, so this year we've assigned an "in bloom in snow" theme to the In Bloom in Vermont conference. We'll be focusing on how to work with children outdoors in winter.

Our second conference, In Bloom in Maine: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education brings us back to Kittery, Maine, to work with the vibrant nature-based early childhood community there. We look forward to a lovely warm Spring day to celebrate the end of Earth Week! This conference has always filled to capacity, so plan to register early.

Our 2019 In Bloom season comes to fruition with our first foray to Amherst, Massachusetts. On June 8, 2019, The Hitchcock Center for the Envioronment will host us for In Bloom in Western Mass. We are confident that the clematis, iris, peonies AND dandelions will all be in bloom!

In the past, In Bloom conferences have catered to teachers of children between the ages of 3 and 6, but children grow up, so we're catching up! This year our workshops are geared to preschool through third grade, so invite you're elementary teacher colleagues.

Please do read through the conference brochure for the workshop descriptions and come prepared to make your selections while enjoying a cup of java (or tea). Registration will be open at 8:00 am to allow time.

Morning Keynote

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten:
The Outdoorsification of Vermont Public Schools

Eliza Minnucci, Consultant, ForestKinder, Tunbridge, Vermont,
Adjunct Faculty, Antioch University New England, Keene, New Hampshire

What happens when Kindergarteners start spending more time in the wildspaces beyond the school building? Many things, of course. Inspired by Kindergarten Forest Days, children across the grades in some Vermont elementary schools are spending significantly more time outdoors. Woven together from the reflections of teachers, Eliza brings you the story of the Forest Day movement and the effect it is having beyond it's kindergarten roots.

Eliza Minnucci was raised in Deerfield, New Hampshire but now calls Tunbridge, Vermont home. Before teaching Kindergarten in Quechee, she taught young children in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Chicago, Seattle and Fort Yukon, Alaska. On hiatus from the kindergarten classroom, she supports teachers in cultivating nature-based play and learning for their students through consultation and teaching the Natue-based Early Childhood curriculum course at Antioch University New England. She is a frequent presenter at In Bloom conferences throughout New England. She is the author, with Meg Teachout, of A Forest Days Handbook: Program Design for School Days Outside, published in 2018.



Lunch is included in the cost of registration. We try to provide a tasty, healthy lunch that allows for common dietary restrictions. In the main dining area we will screen the short documentary movie, Best Day Ever: Forest Days in Vermont Kindergartens. 

Also, Liza Lowe will be facilitating a conversation about the New England Network of Nature-based Early Childhood Educators. This is an opportunity to connect with other regional early childhood professionals.

Gonna Get Myself Connected!

Liza Lowe, Wild Roots Nature School, Chesterfield, NH and Adjunct Faculty, Antioch University New England.

The New England Network of Nature-based Early Childhood Educators (NENNECE) has formed in response to a growing interest in nature-based education. The purpose is to provide a network for early childhood educators throughout New England to connect with one another, share ideas and resources, and support each other in providing high quality nature-based learning opportunities. Interested in collaborating with like-minded colleagues? Curious how to start a group in your neck of the woods? Join us as we explore ways to grow NENNECE and further organize our New England network.

Afternoon Keynote

Eight Owls, Eight Kindergarteners, and Two Teachers

Anne Stires, Founder and Director, Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education,
Adjunct Faculty, Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

What happens when something in the natural world piques children's curiosity, and teachers notice and respond? A curriculum adventure emerges that links seasonal changes, day and night, work and play, science, literacy and more. Anne's story of an owl study began when a five-year-old brought in a book about owls that his grandmother had given him. The children spontaneously began to play a game called "owl families getting ready for winter." The classroom came alive with the buzz of questions: Where doe the owls go in the winter? What owls live here in Maine? How do owls eat?

Anne Stires is the founder, director, and lead teacher at Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education in Alna, Maine. She has worked with AUNE on In Bloom conferences since their beginnings, and serves as adjunct faculty in the Nature-based Early Childhood Certificate Program. She is a contributing author to Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens: The Handbook for Outdoor Learning.

Registration Fees:

Working Professional: $125
Group Rate: $100
(per person for group of two or more
from same school/organization)
AUNE Alumni & Co-Sponsors $75
AUNE /College Ed Students $50