Natural Connections

Providing Innovative Nature Education Opportunities in Vermont State Parks

Natural Connections is an innovative public/private partnership designed to benefit Vermont State Parks and the people who visit them. Working together, Vermont Parks Forever, Vermont State Parks, and ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain will redesign and restore nature centers to enhance educational opportunities in six Vermont parks.

This dynamic partnership — the first of its kind in the nation — will tell the story of human relationships with Vermont’s natural resources and celebrate the complexity and beauty of our state’s landscape. By doing so, it will foster responsible stewardship, and help park visitors make beneficial life-long connections to the natural world.

Natural Connections would not be possible without the ongoing support of our many donors. Thank you to the following donors for their generosity:

  • Canaday Family Charitable Trust
  • Jan Blomstrann Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation
  • The WaterWheel Foundation 
  • Lintilhac Foundation
  • Elizabeth Steele
  • Winthrop H. Smith Family Foundation
  • Darn Tough Vermont
  • Susan Z. Ritz/Larsen Fund
  • Windham Foundation
  • MacLeay Foundation
  • Cabot Creamery Cooperative
  • Antonio B. Pomerleau, LLC
  • Jan Eastman and Jon Marshall
  • Tim Briglin and Laurel Mackin
  • Jerry Greenfield and Elizabeth Skarie Foundation
  • The Mimi Fishman Foundation
  • Lake Groton Association
  • Northfield Savings Bank
  • John Sharpless and Janet Rutkowksi
  • Washington Electric Cooperative
  • Many individual or anonymous donors

Nature Center Restorations: Current Projects

Groton Nature Center: Groton, Vermont

Groton Nature Center

The Groton Nature Center

Groton State Forest is home to seven Vermont State Parks. Working together with Vermont Parks Forever, park staff and ECHO are designing a restored nature center that features interactive learning opportunities highlighting Groton’s geology and its natural and cultural history.

Groton’s nature center will be the first center to be redesigned, with a completion date in the summer of 2022.

View Groton Nature Center Project Details and Budget

Inside the Groton Nature Center

Inside the Groton Nature Center

Button Bay State Park:
Ferrisburgh, Vermont

Button Bay Nature Center

Button Bay Nature Center

Button Bay’s nature center will be the second nature center to be restored and will serve as a visitor portal to Button Bay and nearby parks that lack facilities of their own. The center will feature interactive displays and communication tools that allow visitors to explore clear, thematically organized information on topics including park resources, geography, plant and animal life, and water systems.

View Button Bay Nature Center Project Details and Budget

Future Natural Connections Projects

Lake St. Catherine State Park in Poultney
Lake Carmi State Park in Enosburg Falls
Burton Island State Park in St. Albans
Grand Isle State Park in Grand Isle

ECHO will also celebrate this partnership by installing a Natural Connections exhibit in their science center in Burlington.