Painting away on Mother's Day at Barnes Nature Center

Published on Sunday, 13 May 2018 21:36
Written by Charles Paullin


BRISTOL - Stuffed ducks and other fowl lined the walls of a room inside the Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center Sunday as paint strokes lined pieces of canvas for Mother’s Day.

The environmental learning center that partners with the Indian Rock Nature Preserve, hosted their third annual afternoon paint session for the holiday in which 20 attendees painted a birdhouse with a flower pot.

“Every year we try to do something a little different,” said Jessica Vaughn, a former environmentalist at the center who teaches the class as a mother’s day present to her mother Fern Vaughn, program coordinator at the center.

“It’s just something fun to do and different,” said Fern Vaughn, adding attendees can take the paintings home.

As live birds and owls were on display in their cages on the other side of windows to the room, Jessica Vaughn gave overall general instruction to everyone who worked on their painting individually alongside their fellow attendees.

“…If you make a mistake, turn it into a fallen tree and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever (created),” she said at one moment.

“You basically don’t want your bird house and flower pot to be Chris Angel, hovering,” above the brown, she said at another moment.

Lessons on the birds outside the room were also shared during the event, such as when the Hawk made a noise and Jessica Vaughn explained that was the male bird’s attempt to attract a female.

“We try to keep native animals here,” aid Fern Vaughn. But every now and then we get the occasional reptile or amphibian that’s not native…it’s diverse that way. We can educate kids and adults by showing different kinds that come from different places.”

During intermission points, the center, with a chameleon, snake and turtles were open to viewing for attending, while attendees could munch on cookies and refreshments.

“I love it,” said Gabrielle Carrano who has come to the event before. She was there as a gift from her husband Kris Carrano, who she said she’ll let out of the closet to paint everyone once and a while. “I wish they would do more classes like this,” she added.

Also among the crowd were the daughter of Gloria Sirois, Sandra Godin, a camp director at Indian Rock Nature Preserve, and granddaughter Lauren Godin, a counselor at Indian Rock Nature Preserve.

“I’m terrible at painting,” said Lauren Godin, as the three generations laughed about each other’s paintings.

Upcoming for Father’s Day, the center will have different tarantulas, insects, reptiles and amphibians and more “manly” animals, said Fern Vaughn.

“Men don’t want to paint…” she said.

Other events for Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Summer Camps and a first ever goat parade are also lined up, she said. Find more information at

Charles Paullin can be asked at 860-801-5074 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Sunday, 13 May 2018 21:36. Updated: Sunday, 13 May 2018 21:39.