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

May 19, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT


Antioch University New England hosts three In Bloom east coast conferences this spring:

Teacher and Students-outside class

Witnessing the enthusiasm of early childhood professionals in their valiant efforts to get children outside has been inspirational and heartwarming. As before, at each conference
we’ll be featuring the good work of practitioners from each region as well as spotlighting the work of Antioch University New England faculty members who teach in the Nature-based Early Childhood Certificate Program. We invite you to come to one of the 2018 Conferences, In Bloom: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education!

Each conference has two keynotes and two sessions of concurrent workshops, bringing together a diverse array of early childhood professionals, higher education faculty, environmental educators, mindfulness practitioners and naturalists.

View the In Bloom in Vermont brochure and workshop descriptions

Register Here for In Bloom in Vermont

Morning Keynote: Martin Besford

A Portrait of Highway Farm

Martin Besford headshotAt Highway Farm, teachers embrace the environment as the third teacher. Martin will reflect on how community engagement supports this practice and how a commitment to staff, children and parent contributions in both the design and development of program spaces creates a magical, inspiring canvas for children’s direct engagement and learning. Martin will provide a portrait of Highway Farm, focusing on how it started, and how it has evolved over time. He’ll tell of trials, tribulations and triumphs, emphasizing how continual development has led to the success of a high-quality environment, and encouraging participants to ask questions and share experiences.

Martin Besford owns and manages the Highway Farm Activity Centre in Redruth, Cornwall, UK. He heads the Farm’s Early Years and Little Explorers programs. He has worked outdoors with children for more than 18 years, and specializes in developing and advising on outdoor spaces.

Afternoon Keynote: Amy Butler

A New Path in the Forest: Moving Beyond the Classroom for Explorations, Creativity and Growth

Amy will share the challenges involved in getting children outdoors on a weekly basis while still prioritizing the expectations of NGSS and Common Core standards. She’ll also celebrate the successes that result. This is the story of how a nature immersion program in public school can guide students to care for themselves, their classmates and the place they call home.Amy Butler headshot

Amy Butler is the Director of Education at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont. She has been connecting adults and children with the natural world for more than 20 years. She founded Vermont’s first forest preschool and has nurtured its growth to serve the needs of local children and their families. In 2010, Amy founded the ECO (Educating Children Outdoors), a standards-based nature immersion program that serves nine public schools in the central Vermont area. Each week, Amy and her team facilitate outdoor learning with students and support teachers in extending their classrooms into the outdoors.



See the conference brochure for descriptions of concurrent workshop session. (Add link.) When preparing to register, please select a first and second choice workshop for both the morning and afternoon workshop sessions.

Registration Information

When preparing to register, please first review the workshop descriptions in the conference brochure. Please select a first and second choice workshop for both the morning and afternoon workshop sessions.


  • Working Professional $125.
  • Group rate: 3 or more individuals from the same organization $100.
  • Antioch University Alumni $75.
  • Current AUNE students $50.


Antioch University New England accepts Paypal, credit cards and checks as payment for the registration. If paying by check, please complete the business section of the registration form with your organizations address for invoicing.


Cancellations received in writing 7-days in advance are eligible for a full-refund. Cancellations received within 6-days of the conference are only eligible for a refund if a someone from our waiting list can take your space. For more information, contact Peg Smeltz at [email protected]


  • Academy Elementary School and Windham Southest Supervisory Union
  • Wild Roots Nature Preschool
  • The Retreat Farm
  • Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center
  • North Branch Nature Center
  • George B. Storer Foundation

Register here for In Bloom in Vermont



May 19, 2018
9:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT


Academy Elementary School
650 Western Ave
Brattleboro, VT 05301 United States

Antioch University and Otterbein University Announce Intention to Form First-of-Kind National University System.

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