VINS Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary

50 Year Anniversary

September 2022

Quechee, VT – A festive year of appreciation for volunteers, members, visitors, sponsors, supporters, and neighbors will culminate with a celebration of VINS’s history and co-founders. A deep understanding of the VINS origin story is vital to truly appreciate the current success, vision, and trajectory of the environmental organization so deeply ingrained in and dedicated to the community.

VINS was founded by David Laughlin, Sally Laughlin, Richard Farrar Jr., and June McKnight – local professionals from the Woodstock area. The group’s efforts mounted and ultimately led to the first water quality litigation in the state. The group’s momentum continued even after the victorious cleanup of the Ottauquechee River, and in 1972 they formed VINS to be an education and research organization.

On Saturday, October 15 at 2:00 pm, VINS invites the public to meet two of its co-founders, David Laughlin and Sally Laughlin. At 2:30 pm, Sally Laughlin will share how VINS’s co-founders saved the Ottauquechee River and began the organization that would go on to rescue thousands of native birds, contribute to a body of vital scientific research, and educate thousands of children and adults about the environment. From its serendipitous beginnings to its years as a fledgling nature center to its growth and migration to a new, award-winning campus, attendees will be privy to a rare inside perspective of the evolution of VINS Nature Center.

At 3:00 pm, participants are welcome to enjoy refreshments and the opportunity to meet and chat with David, Sally and Charlie Rattigan-Executive Director. Admissions during that time are complimentary for the presentation.

Visitors are invited to spend the morning or early afternoon touring the nature center campus and reveling in the amazing progress VINS has made over the past 50 years before joining the founders to learn about how the organization got its start.

Over the last 50 Years, through growth, change, and adversity, VINS has become a true destination for visitors to Vermont and the Upper Valley. This last year alone more than 69,000 visitors learned about raptors, native species, and the environment in which they live. These adults and children learned how they can participate in the care of our natural world, helping to fulfill VINS mission of motivating individuals and communities to care for the environment through education, research, and avian wildlife rehabilitation.

March 2022

 Quechee, VT – To mark this historic occasion, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), will host a series of fun events throughout the year. It will begin with a kick-off event on the Saturday of Earth Day weekend, on April 23. This event has a day packed with activities for both adults and children of all ages. It will include two local authors, Tim Traver and poet Jon Meyer, who will be signing their latest books. There will also be an opportunity to meet visual artist Ms. Kannenstine from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with a full array of artwork focusing on the Ottauquechee River. Passports will be distributed to all participating youth for them to check off the activities they participated in or the items they find. On May 7, also Vermont Green Up Day, VINS will hold a river clean up event to celebrate its origins.

Celebratory events will also include a Member Appreciation Day on Sunday, May 22; a Volunteer Appreciation Day on Sunday, August 29; and the David P.C. Chang Memorial Fly Fishing for children on September 24, co-sponsored with the Greater Upper Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, honoring the importance of clean riverine ecosystems. There will also be an anniversary celebration on or close to the actual birth date of VINS in mid-October.

From its very founding, VINS’ mission stressed education as a way to change attitudes and maintain a healthy environment. Starting this spring, our education team is developing more exciting field trip options, in-person and virtually, including: the “Virtual Geology Hike” and “Home Sweet Habitat.” These virtual offerings go hand-in-hand with the in-person field trips, some of which include “Stream Ecology,” “Climate Change and Bird Migration,” and “The Forest Canopy.” More information on all of our field trips can be found on our website,