February Happenings at Moose Hill

Are you starting to notice any changes? Groundhog Day marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the the vernal equinox. The winter solstice, for us here in Massachusetts and in the Northern Hemisphere, is when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the sun and we experience our shortest daylight of the year. The vernal equinox is when the center of the sun is directly above the equator and usually marks the beginning of spring.

No matter how you look at this month, we are starting to see changes. Some birds are beginning to establish their territories and we hear an increase in some song chatter. The days have been getting longer, and here at Moose Hill, the sap has begun to flow for the sugaring season!

Regardless of the temperature – be it cold or a warm snap – we always look forward to getting outside and exploring Moose Hill. Check out what’s happening this month.

busy squirrels still finding nuts!

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!

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!

February 10: Brunch with the Eagles – travel with sanctuary directors Doug Williams and Karen Stein as we head to the Connecticut River in Essex. This day trip is all about the eagles and brunch at the historic Griswold Inn. Last year was an amazing year for spotting eagles (and lots of other birds), plus we had great conversations along the way.

looking for eagles

February 10: Sunday Saunter – experience Moose Hill with staff Teacher Naturalist Michael. Your curiosity, along with Michael’s knowledge and energy, will make for a great day exploring!

February 13: 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.

February 18-22: February Vacation Days – sign up for one day or the whole week. Each day has a topic of focus and, weather permitting, we will spend as much time outside exploring as we can!

creating our own nests for ice eggs

February 25: Moose Hill Mondays – not quite ready to commit to Knee High Naturalists but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly 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. Morning or afternoon programs available!

Not sure you want to pre-schedule your time? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 5 pm – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! During the winter months use caution as trails, walkways, boardwalks, and play areas as they may be icy. The boardwalk in our red maple swamp on the Billings Trail is flooded and often icy – 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. 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, coming soon, you can see pictures taken by sanctuary staff as they have been out and about exploring and teaching at Moose Hill. 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 artist pictures and products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. We also have a new collection of items arriving near the end of the month as we welcome some new artists and their works on sale here at Moose Hill. Stop in and see the selection.

just a few of the treasures to be found in the Gift Shop at Moose Hill

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; register before February 28, 2019 and take advantage of early bird pricing!

early season harvest

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 March and beyond – there’s always something happening. And, remember, March is sugaring month. Register early to secure your spot in our Sugaring Weekends and check out the new programs developed as we celebrate our sweetest season! Wishing for a particular program? Tell us, we might be planning it for the future!


January Happenings at Moose Hill – Happy New Year!

It’s that time when we cannot help but reflect back on the year and all that happened. Who can forget the three back-to-back storms of March and the impact that they had on us and our natural spaces? Then we dove into a summer of heat and heavy storms although that didn’t stop our campers and counselors from having fun and exploring Moose Hill. And as we come to a close on this year the story has certainly been the rain. It’s odd to walk about the property and see our vernal pools at their spring levels (without the lovely sound of spring peepers and wood frogs) and our Billings Loop boardwalk flooded. But we have navigated through it all – both nature and people are more resilient than we think and while there has been work to clean it all up, we still see visitors enjoying the beauty of Moose Hill – from the flowers to the views to the mosses and leaves, we are so grateful to see you here enjoying Moose Hill and sharing your love of this land with your friends and family!

As we enter 2019, why not make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time outside, with us, learning about Moose Hill, enjoying the trails, and continuing to share your experiences with friends and family? In case you need a little inspiration, here are our January offerings; most programs require registration at least 3 days ahead of time so we can best plan for the day. Make sure those programs that you love run, sign up early and grab a friend of two to join you!

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.

exploration happens in every season – there’s always something to discover!

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! Programs begin at either 1:30 pm or 4:00 pm!

January 5: Saturday Morning Hike – Hike Moose Hill the first Saturday of each month! Led by our newest addition to the staff, Teacher Naturalist Julia Signorella, the hikes will focus on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests. The program is great for individuals or families – everyone is welcome. Come for one or all of them!

January 16: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Do you think you know nature? Can we stump you? This is a fun evening – gather friends to square off against or just come and we will divvy up the tables. Snacks and drinks will be provided for this 21+ event! These trivia nights have been a blast – from random questions (we literally pull from every possible source including nature, science, literature, and even art) to random, and sometimes very funny, answers.

January 22: Full Moon Hike – Discover the beauty of Moose Hill under a shining full moon. We will call for owls, test our night vision, search the skies for constellations, and experience the sanctuary after hours. Great program for families with kids age 6 and older as well as adults!

Nothing like a hike under the full moon!

January 27: Tracks and Traces – There are many animals that call Moose Hill home, but where are they? Start with the basics of animal track patterns and then head outside to look for evidence of our resident winter wildlife. This program is designed for families with children ages 6 and older, but all are welcome!

January 28 – Moose Hill Mondays – Not quite ready to commit to Knee High Naturalists but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly 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. Morning or afternoon programs available!

Not sure you want to pre-schedule your time? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 5 pm – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! During the winter months use caution as trails, walkways, boardwalks, and play areas as they may be icy.

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. 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 you can see pictures taken by sanctuary staff as they have been out and about exploring and teaching at Moose Hill. 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 artist pictures and products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. Wish we were carrying something else? Leave us a suggestion!

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; register before February 28, 2019 and take advantage of early bird pricing!

early season harvest

Thinking about summer camp? Registration will open for our 70th summer of day camp fun in mid-January! 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 February and beyond – Vacation Weeks, Tap-a-Tree, Maple Sugaring, Weekend Hikes – there’s always something going on. Wishing for a particular program? Tell us, we might be planning it for the future!

Mass Audubon Photo Contest Winning Images Arrive at Moose Hill

Mass Audubon’s annual statewide photo contest Picture This: Your Great Outdoors, again attracted photographers from across the state and beyond. Each one of their images is an invitation to connect with the nature of Massachusetts.

Moose Hill is happy to present all 20 winning photographs from December 7 through December 31, 2018 in our Blue Room. The 2017 contest produced remarkable photographs that revealed the immeasurable beauty of the Bay State, from a hummingbird mid-flight and porcupine sleeping tree, to spectacular vistas and dramatic close-ups of animals.

“Putting the exhibit up, staff were already arguing over which is their favorite,” said sanctuary director Karen Stein, “Every photo is great; we are lucky to live in Massachusetts where there are so many different kinds of habitats to explore and these photographers captured why we all work to protect these special places.”

Photographers could enter a total of five images among six categories: People in Nature, Birds, Mammals, Other Animals, Plants and Fungi, and Landscapes. All photos for the contest – divided into “18 and Older” and “Under 18” age levels – were to be taken only in Massachusetts or at Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp in Rindge, NH.

Make sure to stop on by the Nature Center to see these beautiful photographs. The Nature Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am-4 pm. While you are here check out the Discovery Room with lots of things to touch and explore. Still looking for that last minute gift or a little stocking stuffer? Stop by the Gift Shop for honey from the hives at Moose Hill, water bottles, hats, mugs, bird feeders, seed, and so more!

You can check out the winners of the 2018 photo contest here. Make sure to take your camera (or phone) the next time you are out exploring Mass Audubon – you never know, you might take the next winning picture!

December Happenings at Moose Hill

It is hard to believe that December is just around the corner and soon we will say goodbye to 2018 and ring in 2019! But, December isn’t over yet and you may find that you need to take a breath, immerse yourself in nature, or give yourself the gift of time with family and friends.

Here are a few of the programs and happenings this December at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you at programs or on the trails!

Moose Hill Walkers – join Patti on Mondays for a walk on our trails as we watch autumn arrive and fade into winter at Moose Hill. This is a great way to learn more about our trails for future explorations on your own – you can register for the series (the best deal!) or pay each time you come along.

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.

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! Programs begin at either 1:30 pm or 4:00 pm!

December 1: Saturday Morning Hike – Hike Moose Hill the first Saturday of each month! Led by our newest addition to the staff, Teacher Naturalist Julia Signorella, the hikes will focus on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests. The program is great for individuals or families – everyone is welcome. Come for one or all of them!

December 1: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! This program is ongoing so stop in anytime between 6:30 and 8:30 pm. We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

December 12: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Do you think you know nature? Can we stump you? This is a fun evening – gather friends to square off against or just come and we will divvy up the tables. Snacks and drinks will be provided for this 21+ event! Our last two trivia nights were a blast – from random questions to random, and sometimes very funny, answers.

December 16: Sunday Saunter – take a gentle saunter along the trails at Moose Hill and experience nature through the seasons. Teacher Naturalist Michael leads these saunters where your curiosity and sense of adventure leads to an hour of fun exploration!

December 17 – Moose Hill Mondays – Not quite ready to commit to Knee High Naturalists but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly 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. Morning or afternoon programs available!

Not sure you want to pre-schedule your time? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 5 pm – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! Have younger kids? Bring them for a little unstructured play time in Cookie’s Garden, our nature play area, or go for a hike along the UnNatural Trail. Just stop in the Nature Center and our Visitor Services staff will point you in the right direction.

While you are in the Nature Center, check out our Discovery Room – there are a number of touch tables to explore. 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 you can check out the Picture This 2017 Traveling Exhibition – see all the winning images from the 2017 photo contest at our wildlife sanctuaries across the state! This exhibit will be up from December 8-31, 2018! 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 artist pictures and products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. Wish we were carrying something else? Leave us a suggestion!

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 the new year? Check out all our upcoming programs starting in January and beyond – Vacation Weeks, Maple Sugaring, Weekend Hikes – happy planning for the New Year.

November Happenings at Moose Hill

November has arrived and we truly begin to see the difference in the amount of daylight – it begins to feel like we head out for work in the dark and we head back home in the dark. It’s easy to want to curl up with a good book and a warm blanket and just nestle in, but now is such a great time to get out and explore! Head outside on a crisp November morning and see the beauty of the frost on the ground, the lifting of the mist through the forest and the low angle of the sun just popping through the trees. Take a deep breathe and enjoy the beauty of the nature all around you. Need a little inspiration…

…Here are a few of the programs and happenings this November at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you at programs or on the trails!

Moose Hill Walkers – join Patti on Mondays for a walk on our trails as we watch autumn arrive at Moose Hill. This is a great way to learn more about our trails for future explorations on your own – you can register for the series (the best deal!) or pay each time you come along.

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.

NEW program 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! Programs begin at either 1:30 pm or 4:00 pm!

NEW program: Saturday Morning Hike – Hike Moose Hill the first Saturday of each month! Led by our newest addition to the staff, Teacher Naturalist Julia Signorella, the hikes will focus on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests. The program is great for individuals or families – everyone is welcome. Come for one or all of them!

November 3: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! This program is ongoing so stop in anytime between 7 and 9 pm. We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

November 4: Bird Banding – learn about the history of bird banding, the various bird banding stations within Mass Audubon, and about the saw-whet owl banding at Moose Hill. We will take a hike to our banding station and if conditions are right, we might even have a chance to see the process. This is an adult program.

November 11: Forest Regeneration – With global temperatures warming each year due to natural, and some not so natural processes, how are the native trees-shrubs-vines-herbaceous plants responding? Teacher Naturalist Michael leads a hands-on afternoon of observation and inquiry.

November 14: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Do you think you know nature? Can we stump you? join us for a fun evening – gather friends to square off against or just come and we will divvy up the tables. Snacks and drinks will be provided for this 21+ event! Last month’s very first trivia night was a blast – even some of the staff were stumped!

November 19 – NEW program: Moose Hill Mondays – Not quite ready to commit to Knee High Naturalists but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly 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. Morning or afternoon programs available!

Not sure you want to pre-schedule your time? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 5 pm – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! Have younger kids? Bring them for a little unstructured play time in Cookie’s Garden, our nature play area or go for a hike along the UnNatural Trail. Just stop in the Nature Center and our Visitor Services staff will point you in the right direction. And while you are in the Nature Center, be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop -stop on by!

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!

Volunteer Opportunities

Fall is here and there is so much to do – we are looking for some new volunteers to join us. Learn more about Moose Hill, our mission, and our programs and events!

Visitor Services 

For a rewarding opportunity to experience the many aspects of Moose Hill and interact with our visitors and staff, join us as a Visitor Services Volunteer. We currently have positions open on weekdays Monday-Friday. Applicants must enjoy working with visitors of all ages and be able to interact in a friendly and professional manner. Duties may include: welcoming and assisting visitors, providing information about the sanctuary, explaining regulations, answering telephone inquiries, processing memberships, and gift shop sales. Familiarity with the sanctuary is a plus. Nonsmoking environment. We offer ongoing training and support. Minimum age 18.

Available Shifts: weekdays either 9 am-12:30 pm or 12:30-4 pm, Monday-Friday

 

Halloween Prowl Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers to help with our popular Halloween Prowl scheduled for October 26, 27, and 28, 2018. Volunteer one, two, or all three nights. We appreciate any and all help.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Portraying a character: Characters perform their 5 minute skit 12 – 20 times per night (depending on which night you are volunteering). Costume and script are provided. Friday, volunteers are needed from 5:30-9 pm; Saturday, volunteers are needed from 4:15-9 pm; and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 4:15-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task at an assigned station.
  • Leading the campfire sing-a-long: Lead songs around a fire after participants enjoy the guided walk. Guitar helpful, but not necessary. Volunteers are needed on Sunday from 5-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task in our side yard, near the Visitor Center.
  • Leading groups along the trail: Guides lead two, hour-long walks per evening along our Prowl trail. Training and a daytime walk thru provided. Volunteer hours are varied according to our needs and your schedule. This is an outdoor task, walking along candlelit paths, sometimes over uneven ground with limited to no flashlights.
  • Carving pumpkins: help us carve LOTS of pumpkins on Thursday, October 25, 2018 anytime between 1-8 pm; stay as little or as long as you wish to carve. This is an indoor task unless the weather is amazing! A great opportunity for scouts and other community groups; we supply the pumpkins, you bring your favorite carving tool (we have a limited supply to share). Stop by after the event weekend – beginning Monday after 9 am and up to noon on Tuesday to claim your pumpkin for your own Halloween celebration.
  • Serving refreshments: bag pre-popped popcorn and make hot chocolate for participants to pick up after their tour. Friday, volunteers are needed from 6:45-9 pm and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 5-8:30 pm. This is an indoor task.
  • Checking in participants: Greet and check-in arriving participants/groups. Friday, volunteers are needed from 6:45-9 pm and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 5-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task at an assigned station; table and chair provided.
  • Keeping the candles lit: Help us light all the candles before the event starts. We will provide clicker lighters. Initial lighting: Friday, volunteers are needed from 5:00-6:30 pm; Saturday, volunteers are needed from 4-5:30 pm; and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 4-5:30 pm. If you are available to stay throughout the event we greatly appreciate the help relighting candles and blowing out candles at the end of the night. This is an outdoor task, walking along candlelit paths, sometimes over uneven ground.
  • Helping set up the luminaries: We set up the luminaries on Friday, October 27, 2017 beginning around 1 pm. Typically this takes an hour or so to complete; you are walking on our trails following the truck of supplies over uneven ground.
  • Help with the S’more fire: Help at the S’mores fire by managing the fire and offering extra marshmallows should one drop into the fire pit. Parents are responsible for helping their child make their S’mores. It’s a gooey fun time! Sunday, volunteers are needed from 5-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task in our side yard, near the Visitor Center.
  • Taking pictures during the event: Help us capture images of the costumed characters, the event stations and groups of participants. Looking for photographers who have experience with night photography; hours are flexible during each night of the event.

 

Sugar Shack – Fall

Though our sugaring season doesn’t start up until early spring, the sugar shack crew always needs volunteers to help split and stack wood in the fall so that it can properly dry throughout the early winter and be ready to boil sap in February.

Typical hours are Wed & Thurs from 10 am to noon.

Sugar Shack – Spring

We need volunteers to help collect sap from the sugar bush, boil the sap in the evaporator, and share maple knowledge with program participants. Most volunteer hours are weekday mornings and training is provided. Start date will be updated as we near spring.

Maple Sugaring Weekend Events – Spring

Lead groups along the event trail, portray a character, pop popcorn, manage indoor activities at the Visitor Center, help in the sugar house, and/or sell maple-related treats. Training is provided. Specific dates and times will be updated as we near spring.

Want to learn more about any of these opportunities? Please contact Danielle Lanson, Volunteer Coordinator, for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Autumn settles in at Moose Hill this October!

It is beginning to really feel like autumn out there – a coolness in the morning and the evening and warmth in the middle of the days. Everywhere you look you can see signs of the changing season – a few pops of color, the dropping of leaves, the busy activity of the squirrels and chipmunks as they store food for the coming winter. What a great time to be out and about at Moose Hill exploring our trails and enjoying this season.

Here are a few of the programs and happenings this October at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you at programs or on the trails!

Moose Hill Walkers – join Patti on Mondays for a walk on our trails as we watch autumn arrive at Moose Hill. This is a great way to learn more about our trails for future explorations on your own – you can register for the series (the best deal!) or pay each time you come along.

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.

NEW program 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!

October 15 – NEW program: Moose Hill Mondays – Not quite ready to commit to Knee High Naturalists but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly 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. Morning or afternoon programs available!

October 17 and 21: Bird Banding at Moose Hill – Did you know that the individual identification of birds provides useful information for both research and management projects? Information gathered during bird banding makes possible studies of dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure, life-span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth. Join us for this adult program and learn about the bird banding at Moose Hill and within Mass Audubon. We will take a night walk to our banding station where we will have a chance to potentially see a saw-whet owl up close and learn about the whole process.

October 20 – NEW program: Saturday Morning Hike – Hike Moose Hill once a month! Led by our newest addition to the staff, Teacher Naturalist Julia Signorella, the hikes will focus on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests. The program is great for individuals or families – everyone is welcome. Starting in November, these hikes will always take place on the first Saturday of the month – join us for one or all of them!

October 20: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! This month we are celebrating International Observe the Moon Night so the moon will be the feature event! We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

October 21: Fall 3-Week Forest Bathing Series at Moose Hill – Discover Mass Audubon’s oldest wildlife sanctuary and experience the healing benefits of Moose Hill in a whole new way on these slow-paced guided therapeutic combination of leisurely walking, sitting, and observation. This is a chance to unplug, slow down, and de-stress through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to deepen our connection with nature.

October 25: Carve a Pumpkin – Help us carve pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns for our annual Halloween Prowl. We will have plenty of pumpkins and a few design ideas, but we need your carving expertise. All abilities are welcome to help; please bring your own carving sets/knives.

October 26, 27 and 28: Halloween Prowl – Join us for Moose Hill’s annual Halloween tradition. For over 35 years this individual and family favorite has been delighting guests – what characters might we have on the trails this year? Reserve your time soon as space sells out quickly.

And, be on the lookout for our next Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Do you think you know nature? Can we stump you? join us for a fun evening – gather friends to square off against or just come and we will divvy up the tables. Snacks and drinks will be provided for this 21+ event! Last month’s very first trivia night was a blast – even some of the staff were stumped!

Not sure you want to pre-schedule your time? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 7 pm – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! Have younger kids? Bring them for a little unstructured play time in Cookie’s Garden, our nature play area or go for a hike along the UnNatural Trail. Just stop in the Nature Center and our Visitor Services staff will point you in the right direction. And while you are in the Nature Center, be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop – new items have arrived and the first 3 weekends in October offer special sales – curious? Stop on by!

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!

CSA Goodbye

Thank you for another great season at our CSA! It has been a fun year with lots of interesting weather patterns which caused some crops to struggle and others to grow in plenty.

As first year Apprentices and Farm Hands, we truly thank all of you for your commitment to this farm and for all of the hard work each of you puts in to make it successful. Having a community that supports local agriculture and a healthy organic way of life is truly something to be thankful for. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

As we do at the end of each season, there will be a survey coming out soon – please look for that in your inbox and please take time to share your thoughts with us. We use this information as we balance the goals of the farm, Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon in our planning for next year, and this is your chance to help us in that planning.

We look forward to next season and are aiming to have the CSA Summer of 2019 on sale in early November (shares make an excellent holiday gift…hint, hint..).

Some Final Recipes and Storage tips

As you are receiving an abundance of some certain crops here these last few days of distribution, we wanted to offer up some storage tips to make the food last and some recipes.

Butternut Squash Soup:

Ingredients

Directions

Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve.

Potatoes: Should be stored in a dark, well ventilated, dry area away from other fruits and vegetables and at a cool room temperature. Potatoes emit ethylene gas which can cause other fruits and veggies such as onions to spoil faster so place them in their own drawer, cabinet, etc.

Popcorn: Air: Hang the corn in a dark and cool location until they are dried. Could be over a month. You also can spread them on a flat surface if you do not have room to hang them.

For the those of you who want to try some different methods for drying, cooking, etc., I found a good video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS-DRROMj3M)  of someone who tried some experimenting with it and showed his results. He tried a few methods of drying including on and off the cob, in the oven, and using a dehydrator.

       Microwave: Very simple and easy..Simply microwave 1/4 cup of kernels in a small brown lunch paper bag. Make sure the bag is closed and folded over 3 or 4 times and firmly crease the seam so that it stays closed. No need to add any oil to the kernels as this won’t make much difference. If you wish to add more kernels, use a larger paper shopping bag.

Microwave for 2 – 4 minutes. Listen closely — when the time between pops slows to about 2 seconds, your popcorn is ready. Depending on your microwave, popping can finish in as little as 2 minutes or take as long as 4 minutes. Do not wait for all the kernels to pop; your popcorn will burn. It’s normal for there to be un-popped kernels in the bag.

Add some melted butter or oil and sprinkle with salt when finished cooking.

Stovetop Popcorn:

Yields: 2 servings  Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp coconut, peanut, or canola oil (high smoke point oil)
  • 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 1 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 1 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Method

1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. If you are using coconut oil, allow all of the solid oil to melt.

2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil.

3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.

This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

4 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.

Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).

Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop, and nothing burns.

5 If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan. Note that if you let the butter get just a little bit brown, it will add an even more intense, buttery flavor to the butter and to your popcorn. (Here’s more info on how to brown butter.) Just drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn and toss to distribute.

6 Salt to taste.

sources:

Butternut Squash Soup: foodnetwork; Butternut Squash Soup; https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/butternut-squash-soup-recipe1-1957751

potatoes: food52; How to Store Potatoes; Lindsey-Jean Hard; https://food52.com/blog/14613-the-best-way-to-store-potatoes

popcorn: simplyrecipes; How to Make Perfect Popcorn; https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_popcorn/

CSA Pick-Up: September 24-28

Wednesday September 26th, Friday September 28th, and Monday October 1st will be the last distribution days for shareholders for the 2018 season. We want to thank all of you for another terrific year!

On the list for pick-up is:

  • Kale
  • Beans
  • Winter squash varieties
  • Acorn Squash Varieties
  • Butternut Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn Stalks
  • Popcorn

Important: Make sure to bring sturdy bags to pick-up that can handle a lot of weight. We will have a lot of heavier items such as sweet potatoes and winter squash.

Also: keep an eye out for our end of year survey. Your input on this helps us to improve the program every year.

See you at the Farm!