When Students Become Leaders

We hear it almost every day: Our kids are our future. But what does that mean? What does that look like? And when does a common phrase become a sign of action?

For our TREES (Teens Representing Environmental Excellency and Stewardship) students, that phrase is just one of the many ways to describe what they do during this after-school program at Lowell High School.

On Saturday, March 11, TREES students hosted their first-ever Youth Environmental Conference, inviting teens from the Merrimack River Watershed in Massachusetts to meet, talk, learn, and share ideas about how they can work together to protect the Merrimack River watershed.

“We felt that a conference would be the best setting, giving students an opportunity to meet, share their work, and learn more about our watershed,” said Sarah Silva, TREES student and Lowell High School senior.

Sally Farrow, Drumlin Farm Teacher Naturalist and TREES coordinator, has watched these students grow and learn over the last four years.

“From start to finish, the students led the Youth Environmental Conference,” she said. “We’ve had them since they were freshmen, so we’re witnessing this growth—and that was so inspiring to see. This is what gives me hope.”

To open the conference, TREES students hosted a Jeopardy game to get everyone in the mood for the day’s workshops: Urban Open Spaces, Environmental Careers, Pollution, and Water Testing. Among the workshop leaders was Dai Kim of Mill City Grows, who shared his experience with us:

“The world needs more educators, believers, dreamers, and leaders, and what the Youth Environmental Conference did for me has reinstated my believe that we’re going to be all right.”

Participating in the conference was Concord Carlisle High SchoolGroundwork Lawrence Green Team, Lowell High School Compass W.I.L.D. program, and Girls Go Green from YWCA Lowell.

We would like to thank Lowell High School for hosting this event, and of course to the TREES students! To learn more about our TREES program, contact Sally Farrow: sfarrow@massaudubon.org.

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: April 7–14

Now that you’ve had a chance to stay cozy all winter long, it’s time to get out there and explore the changing seasons. So put your hot cocoa back in the cabinet and take a look at our programs coming up this week.

Friday, April 7

Froggy Night Walk | Family | 7 pm
Spring is the time for the evening froggy chorus – who makes that peep-peep-peep? Who has that banjo twang? We’ll take a stroll listening and looking for these nighttime singers.

Saturday, April 8

Birding Basics Field Trip | Adult | 8 am
A fantastic introduction to all of our spring birding programs.

Teen Birders: Eyes on Birds | Teen | 9 am
Learn about bird photography and cover the basics of birding as we get ready for spring migration season.

Sourdough Bread Making | Adult | 1 pm
Learn the age old tradition of sourdough bread making in this hands-on workshop.

Wednesday, April 12

Frog Prince | Family | 3:30 pm
Join us as we tell the tale of The Frog Prince and search ponds and pools for amphibian royalty.

Thursday, April 13

Thursday Morning Bird Walk | Adult | Time TBD
Join us as we explore Drumlin Farm and other local hotspots in search of late-winter and early spring birds. Call 781-259-2200, ext. BIRD (2473) the Wednesday before each program for a recorded listing of the exact time and location

For all of our upcoming programs, visit massaudubon.org/drumlinprograms.

 

2017 Report: Maple Sugaring at Drumlin Farm

Information provided by Sarah Lang, Assistant Farmer

Maple sugaring season has come to a close!

The Numbers

2017
Length of season: 4 weeks
Sap collected: 400 gallons
Syrup produced: 6 gallons
Sap-to-syrup ratio: 67:1

2016
Length of season: 7 weeks
Sap collected: 1300 gallons
Syrup produced: 21.3 gallons
Sap-to-syrup ratio: 61:1

Things to note

  • The normal range for sap-to-syrup ratios is 40–50:1. Last year, Drumlin Farm’s sap-to-syrup ratio was also higher than normal. This is likely due to abnormally warm and erratic weather patterns, which had a big influence on the sugar content of our sap.
  • We tapped about half the amount of trees as we normally do this season to give some of our maple trees a rest.

We’d like to thank our staff and volunteers for helping the sugaring season run smoothly. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Lang: slang@massaudubon.org.

There are limited quantities of maple syrup available for purchase at the Drumlin Farm admissions window. Grab one on your next visit!

 

Woolapalooza 2017: That’s a Wrap!

We have another Woolapalooza in the books!

While we didn’t get a triplet birth like last year (much to Farmer Caroline’s relief, we’re sure), this year’s Woolapalooza was a huge success. The day started off with a touch of rain, but that didn’t stop more than 1,000 visitors of all ages from lining up for our annual sheep-shearing festival.

Here are some highlights from the day:

Kevin Ford shearing all of our adult sheep.

 

Learning and crafting along the Sheep-to-Sweater Trail

 

Talented fiber artisans from all over Massachusetts.

 

Delicious food.

 

Skillful sheep herding.

 

And of course, the stars of the show: Our lambs!

 

Thank you to all of our volunteers, vendors, sponsors, and staff for another great Woolapalooza. We hope to see you again next year!

Maple Sugaring Update: It’s Warm!

As you enjoy the unseasonably warm temperatures, this thought might be lingering in the back of your head:

Um…It’s February. Shouldn’t it be cold? And what does this mean for the winter activities I love?

For us at the farm, we have to think about how the warm weather might affect our maple sugaring season. Last year, we had an early start due to the mild winter. In the middle of the season, our collecting halted only for a moment, then ideal temperatures started again and we had a longer-than-usual season. We asked Farmer Sarah some questions about what this “spring spell” might mean for this year.

What are the ideal temperatures for maple sugaring?

40 degree days and 20 degree nights.

When did we start tapping the trees at Drumlin Farm this year?

Just before the first big snowfall in January.

How’s the season going so far?

So far the sap flow has been slow. This might be because of the erratic temperature swings, or maybe it has something to do with the drought last summer and the trees being stressed, some combo, or something else entirely.

How might the recent warm temperatures affect our taps?

We might see sap flow stop entirely. This happened in at least one of the warm spells last year. We need hard frosts at night to recharge the sap flow. The flow will start up again if it gets cold again, unless the trees reach the budding stage. If the warm temps continue long enough the trees will bud early, and that’s the end of the sugaring season (chemical changes in the trees/sap cause the sap to turn yellow and taste bad). Snow on the ground also helps prolong the season, so we might see a shorter season if we don’t get more snow.

So while this warm weather might be a relief for the winter blues, we’d like more winter, please! Our Pancake Breakfast could use some Drumlin Farm maple syrup!

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: February 10–17

We at the farm love this time of year. The farmyard is tranquil during the day, but meanwhile, we’re cooking up classes and workshops for folks of all ages to enjoy everything that New England’s nature has to offer.

We have programs nearly every day this week, so we hope you can make it to at least one!

Friday, February 10

Own Moon | Family | 7 pm
Search for wild owls by the light of February’s “Owl Moon,” then warm up inside and enjoy a visit from one of our resident owls. Listen to the beloved Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

Saturday, February 11

Backyard Sugaring | Adult | 9 am
Turn your backyard trees into syrup producers! Join us to learn how to make your own syrup.

Teen Birders: South Shore Hotspots | Teen | 9 am
Cumberland Fields, Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, and Duxbury Beach are some of the locations we will visit in our search to find rough legged hawks, canvasbacks, snow buntings, purple sandpipers, and many more.

Wonders of Wool: Needle Felting | Adult | 1 pm
This introductory class will familiarize you with basic needle felting tools and techniques. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you catch on as you create and personalize a felted creation of your own!

Sunday, February 12

In Search of Winter Raptors | Adult | 9 am
We will explore the Merrimack River, Plum Island, and Salisbury State Park. We will take time to closely observe these raptors and discuss the adaptations that allow them to survive winter.

Chickadee Birders: Songbirds | Family | 1 pm
Songbirds are unique because of their beautiful melodies and delightful colors. In this class you will meet some of Drumlin’s resident songbirds such as a cedar waxwing and a blue jay.

Wildlife Biologist Club | Teen | 1 pm
Explore habitats and ecosystems at Drumlin Farm and around the state while learning about native wildlife. Sign up for the remaining four sessions at a pro-rated cost!

Tuesday, February 14

Owl Always Love Ewe | Family | 3:30 pm
It’s Valentine’s Day! What would Ewe want? Let’s visit with the sheep and make some wooly valentines. Perhaps Owl could teach us a love song to woo someone special.

Wednesday, February 15

Winter Wonders: Have a Cow | Family | 11 am
Explore the farm and sanctuary in winter!

Fermented Beverages: Kombucha, Shrubs, and More | Adults | 6:30 pm
This class will focus on non-alcoholic fermentation with a particular focus on fermented teas, which have been a staple in many cultures for over 2,000 years.

For all of our upcoming programs, visit massaudubon.org/drumlinprograms.

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: February 3–10

With Ms. G’s forecast behind us, it’s time to look ahead! After all, what’s winter in New England without maple sugaring and woolly adventures?

Take a look at what’s in store:

Friday, February 3

Stew and Brew | Adults | 6:30 pm
Feast on hearty stews made with Drumlin Farm meat and produce (including a vegetarian option!) as you imbibe on local brews from Rapscallion, Jack’s Abby, and Peak Organic.

Wednesday, February 8

Winter Wonders: Winter Coats | Family | 11 am
Feed hay to the sheep with their fluffy winter coats!

Thursday, February 9

Pigs and Blankets | Family | 10 am
We will explore pigs and blankets, taking care of the sheep as well and make a wee little blanket to take home.

In Search of Winter Raptors: Lecture | Adult | 7 pm
The lecture will cover physical and behavioral traits to help us identify hawks and owls. On the field trip, we will explore the Merrimack River, Plum Island, and Salisbury State Park.

Friday, February 10

Own Moon | Family | 7 pm
Search for wild owls by the light of February’s “Owl Moon,” then warm up inside and enjoy a visit from one of our resident owls. Listen to the beloved Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

For all of our upcoming programs, visit massaudubon.org/drumlinprograms.

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: January 27–February 3

 

Cold days are coming!

Here’s your plan of attack: 1) Treat the kids to outdoor adventures. 2) Watch Ms. G deliver her 10th prognostication. 3) Treat yourself to a hearty meal (and brews!) by the fire to round out the week.

Sounds nice, right? Here’s what we have for you to choose from:

Saturday, January 28

Teen Birders: Super Bowl of Birding | Teens | 7 am
Compete to find the greatest number of species and to earn the greatest number of points based on the rarity of the birds recorded in 12 hours!

Simple Cheese Making | Adults | 12 pm
Sample homemade cheeses while learning the skills you need to make your own cheese at home!

Wednesday, February 1

Winter Wonders: Red Barn | Family | 11 am
Explore the farm and sanctuary in winter! Feed our livestock, search for eggs, and follow tracks in the mud!

Thursday, February 2

Groundhog Day | All ages| 10 am
Will Ms. G the groundhog predict an extended winter, or an early spring? Help our famous groundhog decipher the weather clues and deliver her 10th forecast!

Friday, February 3

Stew and Brew | Adults | 6:30 pm
Feast on hearty stews made with Drumlin Farm meat and produce (including a vegetarian option!) as you imbibe on local brews from Rapscallion, Jack’s Abby, and Peak Organic.

For all of our upcoming programs, visit massaudubon.org/drumlinprograms.

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: January 20–27

When the winter weather really starts to settle in, it’s tough for anyone to want to get outside and explore. Frozen toes, layer upon layer, and chattering teeth all start to take a toll.

Trust us, we know how you feel. That’s why our upcoming programs offer just the right amount of outdoor exposure and indoor coziness to get you in the mood for winter.

Friday, January 20

Wild by the Fire | Family | 3:30 pm
Meet furry and feathered creatures and learn how they survive in the snow. We’ll make a sweet treat for the birds and warm up with cocoa and cookies. Winter days are dark and cold, but it’s cozy by the fire!

Saturday, January 21

Sourdough Bread Making | Adults | 1 pm
Learn the age-old tradition of sourdough bread making in this hands-on workshop. Practice each step of the bread making process as we mix, knead, and shape bakery-quality loaves to taste and take home.

Chickadee Birders | Family | 6:30 pm
We’ll hike through the woods in search of owls that live in the habitats of our sanctuary—great-horned, barred, and screech. Afterwards, we’ll move indoors for a close look at our resident owls of the same species.

Tuesday, January 24

Kids in the Kitchen | Family | 10 am
Harvest ripe vegetables from the garden and cook up tasty treats. We’ll collect eggs from our chickens for baking projects and chop veggies from the garden or root cellar to make a variety of dishes.

Wednesday, January 25

Winter Wonders: Who’s Sleepy? | Family | 11 am
Explore the farm and sanctuary in winter! Feed hay to the sheep with their fluffy winter coats. Follow tracks in the snowy fields to see where they go. Make a winter “tweet” for the birds and meet native wildlife.

Thursday, January 26

On the Rise! | Family | 10 am
Mix, knead, and shape your dough for delicious country oat bread. While it rises and bakes, we’ll make butter to spread on your warm, oven-fresh bread.

For all of our upcoming programs, visit massaudubon.org/drumlinprograms.

Drumlin Farm 2017 Resolution Guide

Photo by Ian MacLellelan

Photo by Ian MacLellelan

Happy New Year from all of us at Drumlin Farm! With the holidays behind us, our staff is ready and eager to get back into the swing of things! Keep an eye out for our spring and summer programs coming your way (Teaser: concerts, yoga, and all of your favorites!).

In the meantime…

Did you make a few resolutions? We have some programs that might help:

IMG_0536

“I want to cook more at home.”

Winter Fermentation
Sourdough Bread Making
Fermented Beverages: Kombucha, Shrubs, and More

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“I’d love to spend more quality time with my kids/grandkids.”

Kids in the Kitchen
Winter Farm Family
Winter Wonders: Red Barn

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“I want to learn a new skill.”

Wonders of Wool: Needle Felting
Backyard Chickens
Beekeeping for Beginners

Darcy Duke

Photo by Darcy Duke

“I want to work off those holiday cookies while also learning about nature.”

Naturalist Walk
In Search of Winter Raptors: Field Trip
Alaska Birding Trips

stewandbrew

“I just want to eat, drink, and be merry!”

Stew and Brew
Sausage Making and Beer Tasting with Aeronaut Brewing Co.