January provides a chance to experience the campus as a winter wonderland. It also brings the annual kicksled design competition and race on a frozen Beaver Mountain Lake. Build your kicksled during the holidays and bring it up to celebrate January.
|Weather permitting, February brings the annual Old Time Ice Harvest on the lake. Using antique ice cutting tools and implements we get a taste of the New England past. Bring your own lunch, but there will be plenty of hot soup and hot chocolate.|
In March we bring together the volunteers and the children and do our annual trail maintenance. Picking up fallen limbs, and moving fallen trees gives us a chance to explore the trails and get together after a long cold winter.
April provides another chance to celebrate. This time we celebrate three holidays: Earth Day, Arbor Day, and the first day of Icelandic Summer. Usually we have a picnic, take trail hikes, plant new trees, and honor the environment.
|Pinkster is an old Dutch holiday that has taken on new multicultural meaning. Pinkster is named for the wild azelas that bloom so beautifully at this time of the year. This is a chance to dress up and honor our colonial traditions.|
Memorial Day weekend is a time for recreation on the campus. That means swimming, boating, hiking, and the big paddle boat races. It is also a time to explore the lake in the fleet of watercraft available.
|Chestnut tress are a special feature of the campus and June is when we have a chance to see them blossom. It is also an opportunity to update our inventory of substantial Chestnut trees, and remove any dead or dying Chestnut trees for use in craft projects. This is also the occasion when we collect white Birch bark from fallen Birch trees.|
|Our largest celebration and event of the year falls on the 12th of July. It is the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, the author, environmentalist, and inventor, AND R. Buckminster Fuller, the architect and inventor. Getting together on this date always provides for lively discussion as we try to look at their lives and extract meaning for our lives today.|
|The day starts with a light breakfast and some social time. Mid morning we convene for the annual talk, which provides context for the discussions which follow. After lively conversation and debate we adjourn for lunch. The afternoon is filled with hiking, swimming, boating, and relaxation.|
Each July 12th we look for connections between the thoughts and achievements of Henry David Thoreau and R. Buckminster Fuller. There are many connections between them and the Mind Map reproduced below can be used to spin off conversations.
Getting ready for lunch and the birthday celebration by the fire pit.
|On August 4th in 1638 the first Vreeland arrived on the shores of the New Netherland Colony at New Amsterdam (New York). He and his family immediately sailed northward on the Hudson river to Fort Orange in Albany. He became a farmer for the Patroon Killian VanRensselaer and settled near Ghent and Kinderhook in Columbia County, only a few miles from he Vreeland Institute campus. In addition to farming he also trapped beaver. Later he left for New Amsterdam and became a member of Peter Stuyvesant's Council of 9 men. We celebrate his arrival to the New World by dressing in Colonial costumes and reflecting on the Dutch traditions and heritage in the Hudson Valley.|
|The campus has a half dozen varieties of berries for the picking, especially in mid August. From wild blueberries to raspberries and blackberries there are berry selections for everyone.|
Every August we travel to the Games in Education conference in Albany. It provides excellent speakers, work sessions, and exhibitions of best practices in the use of games in teaching and learning.
|As the Fall foliage is beginning its peak, we gather to hike from Barret Pond in the State Forest, up Beebe Hill to the Fire Tower. Climbing the stairs in the tower rewards one with breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley, the Taconic Range, Mount Greylock, the Catskill Mountains, and the Shawangunks. On a really clear day you can see the Adirondacks in the mist.|
Our annual Oktoberfest is an opportunity to get together and experience the majestic panoplay of color in the fall foliage, see old friends, and to enjoy traditional German cooking and drinks.
We make a pilgrimage to Winchester, Connecticut each year to enjoy the annual Iceland Affair, which celebrates all things Iceland. Don't miss the icelandic horses, sheep, and dogs, and taste the Skyr and lamb hot dogs. They also have excellent speakers with lots of booths and information.
Thanksgiving is also a time to celebrate the past, honor friendships, and think about the future. We gather at the Thoreau cabin on the quietest of all holidays.
December is a busy month for everyone, but we try to get together at the Thoreau cabin between Christmas and the New Year to celebrate with friends and usher in the New Year in Victorian (Thoreau) style.