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Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning at the museum means gaining new skills, contributing to a healthier community, and developing understandings of Vermont's natural history.

Our monthly workshops in the Lifelong Learning series at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium mean practical learning on topics that range from the chemisty of beer, apple tree grafting, and beekeeping to bird observation, back yard meteorology, and cheesemaking. Join us to build skills you've always wanted while learning about our region's natural history and its many vocations.

We intentionally keep our workshops small (fewer than 20 participants) and outside work hours. They are perfect for adults and seniors looking to continue their learning. Sign up below today! All workshops will be held in the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium's upstairs Lecture Hall (1302 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819) unless otherwise specified.

Please contact Drew Bush with any questions you may have.


2019-2020 Lifelong Learning Workshops Schedule

November 11, 19 and 25 / December 2 and 9 2019, 5-6 PM
Observing the Birds: A Lifelong Delight
Presented by Charlie Browne
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50
Cost for Attendance at Individual Workshop Date: $10

Ever wanted to learn not just how to bird but the art of making careful observations of birds? Charlie Browne is a naturalist, educator, and director emeritus of the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. A popular lecturer on birds and bird behavior, Charlie served for several years as guest naturalist on WCAX-TV News and presently he writes a column for the North Star Monthly. Over this workshop’s five one hour sessions, Charlie will examine Northern New England’s birds and their evolution, biology, and behavior. The final session will go deeper into the tools available to naturalists as they observe their avian friends.


February 4, 11 and 18, 5:00-6:30, 2020 5-6:30 PM
The Chemistry of Beer
Presented by John Lenzini
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50
Participants must be 21 years old or older

Join us to learn how to enjoy drinking good beer. John Lenzini, the President and Head Brewer of Schilling Beer Company in Littleton, NH, will delve deep into the chemistry of beer. For 20 years, John worked as an educator (teaching chemistry), coach, and administrator before co-founding Schilling Beer Company. His travels (over the course of a decade) and life in German-speaking Europe heavily influences Schilling’s distinct beermaking style. Over the course of this workshop’s three one and a half hour sessions, John will provide hands-on learning opportunities on the process of brewing. John will build-on and add depth to last year's topics of selecting malts and hops, yeast and fermentation, and identifying common off flavors in packaged beer.  




Meteorology In Your Back Yard
Presented by Mark Breen
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50

His voice can be heard across Vermont’s radio waves. Now you can join Mark Breen, the Senior Meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, as he helps you develop the skills to identify, observe, and record the weather in your own back yard. This workshop will teach participants new skills in meteorology and also how to contribute to improved weather records as citizen scientists in Vermont. Topics for each of four one-hour workshop sessions will include meteorology basics, taking measurements, and cloud identification.


April 9, 16, 23 and 30 2019, 5-6 PM
The Science of Cheesemaking
Presented by Chris Kurdek
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50

A staple food since it began being made 7,200 years ago in Ancient Egypt, the art of cheesemaking has not been lost to the ages. Join expert cheesemaker, educator, and Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium meteorologist Chris Kurdek as he introduces you to the history and culture of cheesemaking. In this workshop, Chris explores the role of bacteria and aging for different cheeses while also teaching you how to make your own mozzarella cheese. Each of this workshop’s three one and a half hour sessions will whet your appetite for one of Vermont’s prized gems. Cheesemaking also helps sustain Vermont's heritage of dairy production into the future.




Wildflowers of Northern Vermont and New Hampshire
Presented by
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50


Apiculture Made Simple: Beekeeping
Presented by
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50


The Technique To Edible Foraging
Presented by
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50


The Art of Apple Tree Grafting
Presented by
Cost for Workshop: Members: $40 / Non-Members: $50

Future Workshops (Check Back Soon For More Details...)

  • Vegetable Gardening for Healthy Living
  • Demystifying Digital Technology for Seniors
  • The Chemistry of Cider Making
  • Back Yard Chicken Raising
  • Sugar Mapling At Home
  • Raising Chickens For Nourishment
  • The Entomology of Trout Fishing

Program Partners

Our partnerships mean our Lifelong Learning Workshops result in real outcomes and new links between community members. Whenever possible, Lifelong Learning workshops will intersect with community projects so participants can continue their engagement through volunteering and community-building. Our partners include the Caledonia Farmer's Market, Caledonioa Food Co-Op, Seed and Weed Garden Club, and the St. Johnsbury House. We aim to overcome social isolation and help connect interested participants with each other.