Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative Spring Events

This Spring we offer a variety of programs, something for every interest: music, poetry, art, gardening, trails and natural living. Try something new – you might find a new hobby. And for shoppers don’t forget the annual VHS book and VGC plant sales.

GMOs: What We Need To Know – Mar. 20 (Mon.)
Vernon Garden Club Program with Barry Avery, UCONN Master Gardener and biologist. 7 p.m.

Greater Vernon Holistic Healthfest – Mar. 25-26 (Sat.-Sun.)
Good health includes exercise and fresh air. Several VVC organizations exhibit including Strong Family Farm, Vernon Greenways Volunteers, The Tankerhoosen, NCLT and Vernon Park & Rec. See separate article for details.

Farm Work Day & 5k Chicken Run – Apr. 8 & 9 (Sat.-Sun.)
More than a road race these Strong Family Farm events are the season’s first outdoor family activities. Work day Saturday at 9 a.m. Chicken Run Sunday at 8 a.m.

Spanning The Hockanum – Apr. 26 (Wed.)
Vernon Greenways Volunteers Spring kickoff program. Town Engineer Dave Smith will describe the planned 100 foot suspended bridge over the Hockanum River to be built this summer.

Vernon Historical Society’s Annual Book Sale – Apr. 28-30 May 6-7
This popular annual event features a wide selection of used books, DVDs and books on tape.

Poetry Rocks – May 7 (Sun.)
Arts Center East hosts State Poet Laureate Rennie McQuilkin, poets Joan Seliger Sidney and RHS poet Joyce Hida, who will read from their works. 2 p.m.

Vernon Garden Club’s Spring Plant Sale – May 13 (Sat.)
Annual sale of member grown plants at Sacred Heart Church. 8-10:30 a.m.

Spring Concert – June 3 (Sat.)
The Vernon Chorale’s Spring Concert is at the historic Talcottville Congregational Church. 7:30 p.m.

Organizations are still planning 2017 outdoor Spring hikes. To learn about these events visit To receive email announcements join our MeetUp group.

Arts Center East: Vernon Public Schools Annual Art Exhibit

Each year, students, parents and teachers eagerly anticipate the Vernon Public Schools Annual Art Exhibit. For the fifth year, Arts Center East will host the event with an opening reception for the town’s elementary school students and their families from 5 – 6:30 on Thursday, March 23. The reception for Vernon Center Middle School and Rockville High School students and families will be from 6:30 – 8 that evening.

This exhibit is an opportunity for Vernon residents to celebrate the astounding creativity of the youngest members of our community. Drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, masks, ceramics and sculptures fill the galleries with a profusion of colors, textures, subjects and styles. Two-dimensional work hangs from floor to ceiling with three dimensional work displayed on tables throughout the galleries. It is exciting to see the progression of work from the delightful images of kindergartners to the sophisticated renderings of high school students.

For many children this is their first visit to an arts center. Seeing their work displayed in a professional venue confirms the idea that it is important and valued. Students and their families are proud to see their efforts honored in this setting.

The exhibit is also a testament to the superb work done by our public school art teachers. The range of ideas, projects and media represented is a corroboration of the vision, resourcefulness and thoughtful guidance of the instructors.

Vernon is to be commended for recognizing the importance of art in the community through this annual exhibit. It affords an opportunity for residents of all ages to have fun together, while applauding the creative thought so essential to the success of the upcoming generation!
Last year over 1300 visitors enjoyed the exhibit. We hope you will join them this year! It will be on display March 23 – April 15. Gallery hours are Thursday – Sunday from 1-5 p.m. For more information, go to Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Vernon Historical Society: Local History Updated For 21st Century Children

When the Vernon Historical Society was formed 50 years ago, the founders felt there was a need for a local history book designed for school children. The first edition of “Vernon, Our Town” was published in 1967 and used as a classroom text for 3rd grade students. In 1989, a committee from the Society collaborated with 3rd grade teachers and reading specialists to prepare a revised edition that included recent changes to the town along with the addition of photographs and supplemental activities.

Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century. The time has come for another revision to the book. Vernon School Superintendent Joseph Macary enthusiastically supports the project. The revision committee includes Mrs. Tammi Venzie, English Language Arts Instructional Coach, Mrs. Shireen Rhoades, Reading Consultant at Maple Street and Mrs. Jean Luddy from the Vernon Historical Society. In the new book, the history of the town will be expanded to reflect changes since the last edition.

The content of the book will be aligned with Connecticut State standards for Social Studies education, which will require the inclusion of more information about Civics and local government. The committee also wants to bring in web based projects and activities that incorporate the use of technology. They are exploring ways to involve students from Rockville High School, perhaps in the design and layout process of the book. An online photo archive is being planned that will allow teachers and students to access photographs from the VHS collection.

Work is underway on this exciting project. The new book will be the foundation for the grade 3 social studies curriculum and will bring our local history textbook into the 21st century.

For more information on the Vernon Historical Society visit Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Vernon Garden Club: Working with Kids

Our peak gardening season here in Vernon runs from April to October. During the remainder of the year, our members are involved in volunteering for various community projects. In 2006, we became part of a Nationwide trend to develop in youngsters a respect and love for their environment – while learning about safe and sustainable gardening practices.

We began a weekly 80 minute after school ‘Jr Gardeners’ program in member Ann Sheridan’s classroom at Lake Street School. The six weeks of classes begin in April with a hands-on discussion of the parts of plants and the essential role of plants in our environment.

We include topics such as bugs, bees and pollinators. We learn about amending the soil, recycling, and we make a compost bin. We take a ‘field trip’ to explore the school grounds, looking for beneficial plants and insects and invasive plants. Our last session always includes planning, planting, and volunteering for summer maintenance of the butterfly garden that previous classes have developed with us at the school.

Our program has continued over the years and expanded. We now work with teacher Estela Merrow. We like to think that in sharing good gardening techniques, we grow in the students an appreciation of the importance of plants in the food-chain, and we help bring about a fuller understanding of nature, conservation, ecology, teamwork and community service. Kids are ‘all in’ getting hands-on experience with bugs, earthworms and dirt! They leave eager to share their experiences and ideas with their families. We know that this program promotes much more than cultivating a butterfly garden.

The Vernon Garden Club offers monthly programs throughout the year. Everyone is welcome. For more information, go to Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Making Vernon Special