Saturday, Oct. 15 — QUECHEE — A festive year of appreciation for volunteers, members, visitors, sponsors, supporters, and neighbors will culminate with a celebration of Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) 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, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m., VINS invites the public to meet two of its co-founders, David Laughlin and Sally Laughlin.
At 2:30 p.m., 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 p.m., 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.