Gift Shop Updates and Artisan Fair

If you have been up to visit us recently, you may have noticed that the Gift Shop has undergone some changes. We have been diligently working on adding more Moose Hill branded merchandise along with a large amount of consignment. We love supporting our local artists and are proud to showcase their hard work in our shop. If you are looking for that perfectly unique gift that was made with love, look no further! We have new items coming in all the time so be sure to check out what’s new every time you visit.

With that, I am excited to announce that this year we will be hosting our First Annual Artisan Fair! On Saturday, June 8th, from 9 am-4 pm, we will have vendors set up alongside our Annual Native Plant Sale. So come on down and meet the artists behind the beautiful work in our shop. They will have a larger inventory with them than we typically carry in the store so it is a wonderful chance to learn more about everything they offer and how each item is crafted.

Cilla’s Creations Cement Owl

Throughout the next couple of weeks we will be featuring some of our artists on the blog so stay tuned!

Summer camp for all ages of kids. Yes even the older ones.

Congratulations to our Camp Director, Shawn, on his appointment to the American Camp Association New England board! And now a message from Shawn as you continue your plans for a summer of fun and learning!

Shawn at the ACANE offices in Lexington, MA

It is now May, and summer camp is right around the corner. Only 6 weeks until camp begins on June 17. I got to spend Wednesday May 1 at the American Camp Association New England (ACANE) offices in Lexington at a new board member orientation. It is a wonderful honor to be accepted to the board of ACANE because I started my camping career in New England, and my first conference presentation was at an ACANE event when I was in my early 20’s. It was great to meet other camp professionals from CT, ME, and MA and to hear all about their programs and some of the reasons they also got into camping.

As I finish up hiring for the summer, work on staff training plans, and work out summer program details, most of everyday is spent thinking about camp for at least several hours. Not a bad way to spend the day. And each day I get a little more excited about the start of camp. I am so happy that we have about an 80% staff return rate this summer, we have a couple of new Junior Staff who have been long time campers and Leaders-in-Training, and we have new staff who are going to be great!

Day camp here at Moose Hill Nature Camp is different than many other programs. We don’t use a lot of equipment, we don’t have a pool or a lake. We do have great staff, 25 miles of trails, and just under 2000 acres of property. And we have nature. Nature can be an amazing teacher for us, and every summer I learn more about the world around us. But our camp is not just for younger kids. Parents are often surprised when I tell them that our day camp goes up to 15 years of age in many of our different programs. Many people think that day camps are only for young campers and that kids over the age of 10 will find nothing to do at a day camp – that is simply not true!

taking a moment to stop, think about what we are seeing, and explore the nature all around us at Moose Hill

In our Nature Camp, programs starts at age 3 with our Peepers program and goes up to 12 years old in our Investigators program. The Investigator program has campers from age 9 to age 12. These campers get to explore farther and more in-depth than our younger campers. The staff that work with them know how to engage them on their level and not as little kids.

For those kids who want something a little different, we have our selection of Specialty Camps: Art, Science, Adventure, Shoots Garden, and Nature Adventure camps all focus on our older campers. These specialty camps each have their own unique focus and are still grounded in nature – we have some new offerings in our specialty camps this summer.

  • Art Camp (9-13 yrs old) – we have added 2 weeks of Theatre camp, a Nature Journaling week, and a Special Effects Make-Up week.
  • Science Camp (10-13 yrs old) – two new weeks in our Animal Adaptations and Slime Science weeks. 
  • Adventure Camp (11-14 yrs old) – heading out all over Massachusetts and even into New Hampshire to explore the amazing natural wonders of our state.
  • Shoots Garden Camp (10-12 yrs old) – tending and harvesting from our new garden over at the Farm House, plus receiving a share from our CSA to cook with each week.
  • Nature Adventure Camp (12-15 yrs old) – it’s back and the campers will be exploring even more areas of the property and learning more outdoor skills while gaining some awareness skills too.
  • Leadership Camp (13.5-16 yrs old) – for campers who want to be in a program where they will learn skills of leadership that they can use anywhere and they will have the chance to use some of our new Team-building elements.  
  • Leaders in Training program or Nurturing Experiences for Staff Trainees (N.E.S.T) ages 14-16 – this is the top of the list, for our oldest campers who are looking to grow and thinking about skills for the future.

All of these specialty programs work with our older campers and provides them a chance to learn more about their own gifts and passions and gives them opportunities to share those gifts and talents with others. And if your older camper(s) are ready, and you are too, Mass Audubon has a wonderful overnight or resident camp at Wildwood in Rindge NH. 

May Happenings at Moose Hill

It’s May! Cavity Nest citizen scientist volunteers are busy monitoring the cavity nests in our fields while overhead the tree swallows swoop about the field and bluebirds and chickadees watch from their perches on branches. The male turkeys are puffing out their feathers, spreading out their tales and dragging their wings in a display for the females and many a visitor. Killdeer are protecting their nests in the fields as we carefully plant and weed around them on our farm. And each week we are seeing and hearing spring migrants in our forest and fields. Spring is definitely in the air!

Killdeer in the farm fields

After a rainy April, our trails can be muddy and the water on often dry streams are flowing, but that doesn’t stop us from getting outside and exploring as the sanctuary shakes off the winter. The trees are leafing out, the ferns are emerging from dormancy and unfurling along the trails, beautiful flowers are opening in the gardens and the fields, and the farm is being planted and weeded as we prepare for the summer harvest. May is the perfect time to join us for a program – grab a friend or two and register early to secure your spot and help us plan for the day.

Knee High Naturalists – want your 3-5 year old to have a little more nature in their day? Miss Patti and our youngest naturalists will explore Moose Hill – each week will have a new nature- or science-related theme. We still have spaces in either the Tuesday or Thursday morning sessions. Come once a week or come twice – the activities on each day will complement the other day and we pro-rate for sessions already started!

Fledgling Fridays – spend some great quality time with your child. Create art, participate in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities, listen to stories, and explore the outdoors every Friday afternoon. This hands-on, nature-based learning program is designed for children ages 3-5 with an adult. Each Friday we will have a different theme focusing on sensory development. Come for one, or come for all of them!

Moose Hill Walkers – it’s back; time to kick off the winter, get outside and take a hike with Ms. Patti every Monday morning. Come learn the trails at Moose Hill so that you can explore on your own!

Early Morning Birding – bird migration is here. Bring your binoculars and join Vin as you head out in search of spring migrants – all birding levels are welcome from beginner to expert!

Pileated woodpecker

May 4: Saturday Morning Hike – join Teacher Naturalist Julia for a hike that focuses on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation, and Moose Hill quests.

May 4: Firefly Watch Citizen Science; Learn to Study Fireflies at Home – there are more than 150 species of fireflies in North America. Come and learn about fireflies and how your observations can help scientists map fireflies – besides, it’s fun for the whole family!

May 4: Star Gazing Nights – join astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern New England for a look at the stars and other night objects through their big telescopes. Be sure to call ahead to make sure the program is running – the weather and sky conditions dictate if this program runs.

May 5: Sunday Saunter; Spring Wildflowers and Neotropical Migrants – take a gentle saunter along the trails of Moose Hill with staff Teacher Naturalist Michael to experience nature through the seasons. This month the focus is on the wildflowers and spring migrants at Moose Hill.

May 10-11: Bird-a-thon! – team Moose Hill is ready to head out and bird for 24-hours in this annual fundraising tradition. Support our team’s efforts to bring home the trophy once again for most species identified in 24-hours by donating today. Our efforts and your donation provide critical funds for the conservation work and educational programming at Moose Hill. We thank you for your donation!

May 12: Mother’s Day Breakfast – celebrate Mother’s Day at Moose Hill with a morning hike followed by a hearty pancake breakfast! Hikes begin at 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, or 11 am. Register early to secure your spot for the day.

May 12 and 26: Forest Bathing Half Day Retreat – a slow-paced guided therapeutic experience promotes wellness through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our natural surroundings.

May 18: Salamanders and Citizen Science – learn about our different salamander Citizen Science research projects and practice the protocol yourself. We will hike to the vernal pool and check on some of our cover boards as we search for salamanders at Moose Hill.

Red-backed salamander

May 18: Full Moon Hike – discover the beauty of Moose Hill under a shining full moon with Miss Patti!

May 19: Family Nature Exploration Sundays – explore the wonders of nature as a family as we observe, explore, and discover what is happening in our red maple swamp.

May 20: Moose Hill Mondays – this drop off program for children ages 3-5 years will focus this month on insect investigations with outdoor exploration and play.

May 22: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – don’t miss out on this Trivia Night, our last one until the fall. Learn about the passions of Moose Hill staff and their curiosity. The night is always filled with laughter, discussion, learning and fun!

Is pre-scheduling your time hard to do? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 7 pm (when our parking lot is unlocked) – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! During this time of year the trails can be wet and muddy; the boardwalk in our red maple swamp on the Billings Trail is still flooded – please avoid that section!

When you come, be sure to stop in the Nature Center and check out our Discovery Room – there are a number of touch tables to explore and the focus this month will change from maple sugaring to vernal pools! I notice: what details do you notice about the items on the tables? I wonder: when you look at the items, what questions do you have? It reminds me of: do these items look like any other things you are familiar with?

Continue to the Blue Room where Mr. Turtle is just looking for visitors – this red eared slider has been a part of Moose Hill for 4 years now; read more about why we have him when you visit! On your way to the Blue Room, be sure to stop and take a selfie at the Moose Antlers – if you line yourself up just right, you can capture yourself with a great Moose rack (don’t forget to tag us if you get a great photo; we want to see how much fun you are having)!

And be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop – honey from our fields, rocks and minerals, local artisan products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. If you haven’t been to the Gift Shop lately, stop in and see the newest selection of items we have just waiting for you. And, save the date – we will feature our local artisans with a fair on June 8; come and meet the people and learn more about their craft.

Are you daydreaming about summer? The Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary runs a summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with fresh, organic vegetables over 18 weeks. Registration for this program is now open! Pick-up options available Monday, Wednesday, or Friday evenings from 4-7 pm at our Farm Barn in Sharon or Thursday evening from 3:30-6:30 pm at our sister sanctuary, Boston Nature Center, in Mattapan.

Thinking about summer camp? Registration is open for our 70th summer of day camp fun. It will be another great summer with a few new programs!

No matter how you spend your time with us at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you here, exploring the nature of Massachusetts at our sanctuary!

Already looking ahead to what’s next? Check out all our upcoming programs starting in June and beyond – there’s always something happening. Wishing for a particular program? Tell us, we might be planning it for the future!

Want to be sure you know what’s happening at Moose Hill? Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/MassAudubonMooseHill or on Instagram: instagram.com/massaudubonmoosehill

Learn about programs, see the beauty of Moose Hill and experience the fun we have!

Moose Hill is Hiring!

the Nature Center at Moose Hill

Moose Hill, Mass Audubon’s oldest sanctuary, was established in 1916 and protects 1,971 acres of land in Sharon, Massachusetts. With diverse hiking trails and all-season programming, we connect adults and families with the natural world. We aim to serve as a resource to the local community, inviting people to explore our sanctuary while bringing opportunities for engagement to people where they live, work, and play.

We are on the search for some additional part-time, seasonal, and per diem staff in a number of areas. Check out the options below and the links to the fuller descriptions – we look forward to growing our family!

Weekend Visitor Services – we are expanding our weekend hours and looking for some new smiling faces to join our team.

heading for the morning harvest

Farmhand – our organic farm will be in full swing this summer and we are seeking a few staff to harvest and market produce through our summer CSA and weekend Farm Stand.

a summer of fun!

Moose Hill Summer Day Camp – there are a number of positions available as we enter our 70th year of summer day camp.

exploring our outdoor classroom – the wildlife sanctuary

Moose Hill Education – during the school year we connect curriculum standards through nature and conservation education both at Moose Hill and at schools.

April Happenings at Moose Hill

We had a fantastic month of sugaring – from new programs to schools and groups that came out to learn more and, of course, our special fundraising event – Sugaring Weekends! It really was a sweet season…and there is still syrup for sale in our Gift Shop.

skunk cabbage begins to emerge

And now April is upon us and we are ready for spring to come on in full force. We have heard the first of the spring peepers and a few wood frogs here and there – soon the chorus of sound on the Vernal Pool Trail will be loud and the vernal pools will have egg masses growing. The Red-winged blackbirds have returned to the feeders, the Goldfinches have popped into their bright yellows, and the Turkeys are strutting their stuff in full display. We’ve even seen a few pregnant raccoons waddling around. So, while the trails are muddy (and the red maple swamp boardwalk is still flooded) it is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warming sun and a hike on the trails and check out what’s happening this month at Moose Hill. Remember, most programs require registration so we can best prepare – find a friend or two and register early to ensure that programs you are interested in run!

Knee High Naturalists – want your 3-5 year old to have a little more nature in their day? Miss Patti and our youngest naturalists will explore Moose Hill – each week will have a new nature- or science-related theme. We still have spaces in either the Tuesday or Thursday morning sessions. Come once a week or come twice – the activities on each day will complement the other day and we pro-rate for sessions already started!

Fledgling Fridays – STEAM learning for preschool ages kids!

Fledgling Fridays – spend some great quality time with your child. Create art, participate in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities, listen to stories, and explore the outdoors every Friday afternoon. This hands-on, nature-based learning program is designed for children ages 3-5 with an adult. Each Friday we will have a different theme focusing on sensory development. Come for one, or come for all of them!

Moose Hill Walkers – it’s back; time to kick off the winter, get outside and take a hike with Ms. Patti every Monday morning. Come learn the trails at Moose Hill so that you can explore on your own!

Red-tailed hawk watches us from behind the branches

Early Morning Bird Walks – bird migration will soon be here. Bring your binoculars and join Vin for six weeks as you head out in search of spring migrants – all birding levels are welcome from beginner to expert!

April 2: Ropes of Ecology talk – Shawn Moriarty, the Education Coordinator and Camp Director for Moose Hill had his first booked published last fall. Come learn about his unique team-building and experiential ecological literacy programs that are now a part of the offerings at Moose Hill.

April 5: Star Gazing Night – astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern New England take a look at the stars and other night objects through their big telescopes and share it all with you!

April 6: Saturday Morning Hike – Teacher Naturalist Julia will lead this hike focusing on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests.

giant leopard moth caterpillar

April 10: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Shawn and Julia have been busy preparing the next round of trivia questions. Grab a friend or two, or sign up on your own and make some new friends on another Wednesday night at Moose Hill! This 21+ event is always full of laughter and learning.

the big vernal pool is starting to thaw

April 14: Sunday Saunter – take a gentle saunter along the trails of Moose Hill with Teacher Naturalist Michael to experience nature through the seasons. This month there will be a special focus on vernal pool ecology.

April 14 and/or April 28: Forest Bathing Half Day Retreat – Tam Willey, a certified Forest Therapy guide, will lead you on this slow-paced therapeutic experience promoting wellness through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our natural surroundings

April 15-19: April Vacation Week – experience out-of-school time with us. The seasons are changing and we will go out and explore those changes and what Spring brings to Moose Hill – each day has a special focus. Sign up for one day or all five!

measuring the red-backed salamander

April 20: Salamanders and Citizen Science – act as a Citizen Scientist for the day in this fun, hands- on program with Julia! With your family and friends, learn about our different salamander Citizen Science research projects and practice the protocol yourself.

April 25: Frog Search – enjoy a short, leisurely evening stroll to look and listen for spring peepers and other calling frogs with Julia.

April 28: Family Nature Exploration Sundays – take time to explore the wonders of nature as a family with Miss Patti. Our destinations won’t be too far, which will leave us plenty of time to observe, explore, and discover what is living in a new location each month. This month we go in search of birds!

April 29: Moose Hill Mondays – not quite ready to commit to the series Knee High Naturalists, but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly 2-hour drop-off program for children ages 3-5 will feature a new seasonal nature theme each month with plenty of outdoor exploration/play complimented with indoor activities and crafts. April will feature signs of Spring; morning or afternoon programs available!

Is pre-scheduling your time hard to do? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 7 pm (when our parking lot is unlocked) – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! During this time of year the trails can be wet and muddy; the boardwalk in our red maple swamp on the Billings Trail is still flooded – please avoid that section!

When you come, be sure to stop in the Nature Center and check out our Discovery Room – there are a number of touch tables to explore and the focus this month will change from maple sugaring to vernal pools! I notice: what details do you notice about the items on the tables? I wonder: when you look at the items, what questions do you have? It reminds me of: do these items look like any other things you are familiar with?

Continue to the Blue Room where Mr. Turtle is just looking for visitors – this red eared slider has been a part of Moose Hill for 4 years now; read more about why we have him when you visit! On your way to the Blue Room, be sure to stop and take a selfie at the Moose Antlers – if you line yourself up just right, you can capture yourself with a great Moose rack (don’t forget to tag us if you get a great photo; we want to see how much fun you are having)!

get your swag and other great items in our Gift Shop

And be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop – honey from our fields, rocks and minerals, local artisan products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. If you haven’t been to the Gift Shop lately, stop in and see the newest selection of items we have just waiting for you. And, save the date – we will feature our local artisans with a fair on June 8; come and meet the people and learn more about their craft.

Are you daydreaming about summer? The Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary runs a summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with fresh, organic vegetables over 18 weeks. Registration for this program is now open! Pick-up options available Monday, Wednesday, or Friday evenings from 4-7 pm at our Farm Barn in Sharon or Thursday evening from 3:30-6:30 pm at our sister sanctuary, Boston Nature Center, in Mattapan.

Thinking about summer camp? Registration is open for our 70th summer of day camp fun. It will be another great summer with a few new programs!

No matter how you spend your time with us at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you here, exploring the nature of Massachusetts at our sanctuary!

Already looking ahead to what’s next? Check out all our upcoming programs starting in May and beyond – there’s always something happening. Wishing for a particular program? Tell us, we might be planning it for the future!

Want to be sure you know what’s happening at Moose Hill? Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/MassAudubonMooseHill or on Instagram: instagram.com/massaudubonmoosehill Learn about programs, see the beauty of Moose Hill and experience the fun we have!