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!

Farming: The Challenges and Successes, as the season winds down

Did it seem like the tomatoes were here and gone before you knew it? Unfortunately our tomato season was cut a little short because of a bacterial spot that caused them to get sick and die much quicker than we wanted.

On the bright side of things, we were lucky enough to get an extra planting of summer squash and zucchini that has lasted longer than usual.

However, spinach was planted but it failed to germinate so we will not see that this fall. Our most recent planting of corn struggled as well as August was a particularly dry month (hard to believe with our rainy September).

But, as the season begins to wind down for us, we have an abundance of sweet potatoes coming your way in addition to our most beloved winter squash varieties, AND a final planting of beans.

See you all soon!

CSA Pick-Up: September 17-21

This week’s distribution will include:

  • Kale
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Beans
  • Sugaring Pumpkins
  • Winter Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Corn Stalks

We will have pick your own herbs and flowers and cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes will be slim pickings, but they are still out there for the determined picker!

 

As the season is winding down, be sure to complete your required work hours. you can sign up by following this link to the sign-up genius.  If you are interested in buying out of your hours, send an email to moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org letting us know and we can give you more details.  Currently it looks as though we will be able to extend our season into the first week of October.

CSA Pick-Up: September 10-14

With the seasons changing we are starting to say goodbye to some crops while also welcoming the additions of some seasonal favorites:

  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes (mostly Roma)
  • Leeks
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Winter Squash (mostly acorn)
  • Sugaring Pumpkins

We are continuing with pick your own including:

  • flowers
  • herbs
  • cherry tomatoes

The Buy-A-Bucket program is officially over.

As the season is winding down, be sure to complete your required work hours. you can sign up by following this link to the sign-up genius.  Currently it looks as though we will be able to extend our season into the first week of October.

Also as the season comes to an end keep an eye out for the end of season survey. We would love to hear back as much input as possible to help our program grow and change into the best possible.

 

CSA Pick-Up: September 3-7

Happy Labor Day everyone! Here is the CSA list for this week:

  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Squash/Zucchini
  • Sweet and Spicy Peppers
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Leeks
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

Continuing with pick your own (PYO) this week is:

  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Buy-A-Bucket will be continuing for this week and is now only tomatoes (no eggplant or peppers).

The season’s end is fast approaching. If you have not completed your required work hours, you can sign up by following this link to our sign up genius.

Autumn Happenings at Moose Hill in September!

As the hustle and bustle of summer camp ends on this last day of August and we begin to transition into a new season, it always seems so quiet here on the hill. But don’t worry, there is still a lot to do in September and hopefully the cooler breezes of Autumn will be upon us!

Here are a few things to explore at Moose Hill throughout September – we look forward to seeing you on the trails and at programs!

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.

September 8: Mt. Watatic Hawk Watch – Join Stony Brook sanctuary director Doug Williams for our annual pilgrimage to North Central Massachusetts for a chance to observe some of the thousands of hawks that migrate south through the area each fall. If you have never been on a hike with Doug, you have missed out! Not only will we observe hawks but, as an exceptional naturalist and botanist, you will learn a bit about the northern hardwood and hemlock forest along the way.

September 15: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

September 16: September Bug Count; Late Summer Choristers – Join naturalist and “bug guy” Michael for an early evening walk to learn about, listen for, and identify these chorusing invertebrates!

September 20 and 27: Birding the Farm Fields – Join Vin Zollo as we look at what birds are taken advantage of the open farm fields during fall migration.

September 26: 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!

Plus, the Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary has a Farm Stand, open on the weekends from 11:00 am-3:00 pm. Get your fresh, organic veggies right here!

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 have your bug spray, sunscreen, and 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!

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!