Author Archives: Danielle Lanson

How to Shop Safe and Local

While the Nature Center, Gift Shop, and trails remain closed during this time, the farm will be open and we hope that you will continue to support the local vendors that we partner with to fill our gift shop shelves. Though you can’t shop through us right now, you can still easily shop directly with many of our vendors for all of your upcoming gifts, gardening, or grocery needs – it will be easy to see why we have been so proud to partner with them at Moose Hill.

The two current best ways to directly support Moose Hill are by joining us as a member, taking advantage of the new member special for just $32, and by joining our Organic CSA, where you can get 18 weeks of fresh vegetables worth $27-$32 a week. Guaranteed fresh vegetables without needing to remember to place an order each week – what a great deal! We will be starting our CSA program on time in late May. Arrangements will be made for a safe pick-up process for shareholders and farmers if the COVID-19 situation continues into the CSA season. By purchasing a CSA share now, you’re giving valuable support to our farmers as they continue to work to provide fresh, sustainable food for our community.

While we can’t physically sell the great products from our local partners in our shop right now, we want to help you reach them virtually, or contact free, and continue to show them some love. Visit the list below to check out what your neighbors and community members have available.

CatBird Design – Greeting Cards / Nature Photography / Jewelry and More
Cilla’s Creations – Cement Garden Decorations
Chickadee Seed & Feed – Bird Seed, Feeders, Garden Supplies, Feed, and More
Country Farm Candles – Family Owned Hand Poured Soy Candles
Good Life Creations – Personalized Gifts & Decor
Ink’d – COMMUN-A-TEE T-Shirts and Masks
Jim’s Organic Coffee – Local Coffee Offering 15% Off Your Online Order
Mass Audubon Shop – Limited Version of the Usual Online Shop
Nelumbo Healing Arts – Nature Art, Jewelry, and Hand Crafted Self Care Products.
Our Corner Booth – Handmade Wooden Home Goods & Decor.
The Petal Peddler’s Shop – Unique Handcrafted Paper Flower Bouquets
Ring by Ring Designs – Handmade Jewelry
Simpson Spring – Local Grocery Goods (Including Local Meat), Fresh Spring Water, Gifts, and More
Tea Guys – Local Tea
TreeHouse Farms – Local Eggs, Meat Birds, and More
Ward’s Berry Farm – Local Groceries, Plants, and Moose Hill Maple Syrup
Yellow Ochre Studio – Original Gouache Paintings & Giclee Prints

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy and miss you dearly. Thank you for your continued patronage and shared love of nature.

How to Make a Recycled Nature Journal

Julia is a teacher-naturalist at Moose Hill who has been with Mass Audubon for over two and a half years and at Moose Hill specifically for the last year and a half. Julia is passionate about conservation and protecting the environment so future generations have the same resources that we have today and she loves sharing that passion with people of all ages. With a background in geology and environmental studies and research projects on fluvial features on mars as well as wetland restoration, she can easily teach on the many aspects at Moose Hill, hopefully sparking an interest or love of the environment in children and adults. She particularly loves seeing a child express excitement over something they learned.

Make your own homemade journal using recycled materials found in your home. Then use it to write and draw about things you see and observe in nature! 

Materials: 

  • Cardboard from a cereal box, soda box, or any other cardboard item 
  • Ruler 
  • Pencil/pen 
  • Hole punch  
  • Scissors 
  • Yarn 
  • 5 sheets of computer paper/any paper you have in your home 

Instructions: 

  • Using the ruler, measure 2 pieces of the card board as a 6” by 9” rectangle using the ruler and pen to mark the measurements. 
  • Cut out the 2 measured cardboard pieces. 
  • Fold 5 sheets of 8” by 10” computer paper in half the “hamburger” way. You may use more paper but keep in mind it will be harder to poke holes in it the more paper you have. You may also use any kind of paper you have. 
  • Using the hole punch, punch three holes along the edge of each cardboard piece and the folded packet of paper. Make sure the holes line up with each other. You can use scissors to make the holes if you do not have a hole punch. 
  • Using your yarn, weave through the holes. Put the yarn down through the top hole, up through the middle hole, and down through the bottom hole. 
  • Then weave the yarn back up through the middle hole, and back down through the top hole.  
  • Then tie the two ends together.  

And tada, you have a nature journal! Now get out there and document that nature that is budding in your backyard right now. You can take it another step further and decorate the cover however you see fit so that it is personalized just for you.

We hope you had fun crafting with us today. Be sure to share your findings with us on Facebook or Instagram! We love to see what you come up with.

While the Nature Center, Gift Shop and trails are closed during this time, there are still a number of ways you can support Moose Hill as we prepare for when we once again can welcome everyone back – join Mass Audubon (there’s a new member special for just $32 dollars!); join our CSA, with a regular pick-up worth $27-$32 a week, it’s a guarantee of fresh, organic vegetables this summer; support our partners:

Musings From a Sidewalk Explorer

Ms. Patti, one of our educators who has been teaching preschool and kindergarten aged children at Moose Hill for 25 years, continues her daily walks around her neighborhood and shares what she sees and a few fun activities and resources for you.

I was excited to notice the first buzzing bumblebee bumbling around my yard (it was a bit chilly, so I think that may have been impacting the bee’s flight path). I am sure it was searching for a flower to have a snack; however, to date the only things blooming in my yard are maple trees, daffodils, and a few weedy lawn plants, slim pickings for sure. I am hoping the bumblebee will be back when my blueberry bush is in bloom since bumblebees are blueberry pollinators. Since they are way too big to physically get into a blueberry flower to access the pollen, they use buzz pollination! They grab hold of the flower and vibrate their bodies at the proper frequency so the pollen drops out.  Watch this super cool adaptation! 

Learn about bumblebees (and other bees/wasps) in Massachusetts. 

Learn all about bumblebees. 

Celebrate bumblebees…here’s how: 

  • Enjoy blueberry pie, blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, or the fresh fruit unadorned to show your appreciation of bumblebees! 

Let us know your bumblebee (and other pollinator) sightings and activities.  Be well and stay safe. 

Musings From a Sidewalk Explorer

Ms. Patti, one of our educators who has been teaching preschool and kindergarten aged children at Moose Hill for 25 years, continues her daily walks around her neighborhood and shares what she sees and a few fun activities and resources for you.

Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night will keep me from my daily walk. While I wait for the heat to arrive (and the snow to depart…really?!) I am reminded of the adage: there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing choices. This spring has put my wardrobe to the ultimate test, as just when you think it’s safe to put the winter apparel away, it snows (again, really?!)! My rain coat has had a workout as well, including one walk where rain turned to sleet and I watched it bounce off my sleeves. This was the walk that confirmed that I need to invest in some rain pants.  

I hope the weather doesn’t deter you from venturing outside. In full disclosure, I did stay in during a couple of rainy days when it was raining sideways, and also thought it prudent to stay in the day it was so windy that it blew over a tree and the power went out. So, I hope you will explore nature no matter what the weather, within reason. Here’s a few ideas of what to do: 

Let us know how you celebrated spring’s ever-changing weather.  Be well and stay safe!

Supporting Our Local Vendors

With the gift shop closed, we wanted to take a moment to highlight ways you can still support the local businesses that you can’t currently purchase from through us. We know that things are tight for a lot of folks out there right now due to so many jobs being shut down, but if you find yourself needing some of the items that our vendors below offer, we implore you to shop local and support these smaller business that are being greatly affected right now.

Country Farm Candles just launched a Tealight Soy Making Candle Kit, which makes a great at-home craft project. They are also working on a video series of candle experiments that can be done at home with the tealights so be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Cilla’s Creations has been busy working on new cement pieces to brighten up your yards and gardens that will be available for purchase curbside with a portion of the profits still going to support us at Moose Hill. Follow her Facebook to learn more details.

Celebrations have become a little different in this time of quarantine but you can still buy gifts of unique jewelry through Ring by Ring Designs on her website. Our entire Nature Collection is available with some new designs that aren’t even in the gift shop yet.

If you are anything like me and have found yourself drinking a little more coffee than usual to get through these strange days, you may need a restock. Jim’s Organic Coffee is an excellent local company that is currently offering 15% off of their online orders. All of their coffee support independent farmers in their countries of origin and their Mexican Single Origin coffee is certified bird friendly with over 100 bird species and over 200 plant species on the farm. Once you get your hands on some of their coffee, be sure to check out all the different ways it can be brewed to perfection right at home.

I know some of you are missing our maple syrup but I have good news. Ward’s is now selling our bottles of certified kosher maple syrup and they are now offering no contact curbside pick-up and home delivery for some of their groceries, including our syrup.

Simpson Spring, located in Easton, is also doing curbside pickup of their local water, meats, cheese, eggs, and yogurt options. You can call ahead or send them a message on Facebook to place an order.

Our organic CSA will be a great way to get fresh veggies in the coming months. Join our summer CSA and receive 18 weeks of fresh, organic vegetables Pickups in Sharon and Mattapan. With shares equaling just $27 to $32 per week it’s a great way to support Moose Hill and the work we do. Register online today to secure your slot. If you have questions about this program, please feel free to email us at moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org.

Right now, we’re still planning to start our CSA program on time in late May. Arrangements will be made for a safe pick-up process for shareholders and farmers if the COVID-19 situation continues into the CSA season. By purchasing a CSA share now, you’re giving valuable support to our farmers as they continue to work to provide fresh, sustainable food for our community.

If you are running low on birdseed, you can support our local supplier and pick some up at Chickadee Seed & Feed on route 1 in Walpole. They have some limited hours but they are a smaller shop where you can go safely without much interaction with other people. Check their Facebook for updates on their hours and protocols.

Lastly, Tree House Farms has fresh eggs weekly and is taking orders to raise meat birds monthly. Check out her Facebook or Instagram for updates on how to order and message her on either platform with any questions or requests.

We can’t wait to see you back up on The Hill when we are able to re-open our doors, but we hope you are all staying safe and healthy in the meantime. As always, thank you for your support of Moose Hill and for supporting our partner vendors!

Holiday Shopping at Your Local Gift Shop

If you are looking for unique gifts this Holiday season, be sure to come check out our ever growing and changing gift shop right up at the Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Center. We are proud to support a wide range of local artists with items such as handmade jewelry, wood burned art, cement garden art, hand poured soy candles, greeting cards, nature and vegetable prints, wool dryer balls, ornaments, hand knit and crocheted hats, and more! Keep checking back throughout the season as new products, including some of those pictured below, arrive in the shop.

On top of all of the lovely local art items, we also have Moose Hill branded items like shirts, hats, water bottles, and bags – most of which were printed locally at Inkd in Mansfield!

We are also getting restocked with plenty of nature themed items that make excellent stocking stuffers! These will be arriving at the shop towards the end of November – keep an eye out on our social media pages for our announcement of their arrival.

At Moose Hill, we strive to support our community and offer as many local items as possible, even down to the soda and bird seed that we sell. So you know that when you shop with us you are not only supporting a local conservation organization, but also a local business or artist. And don’t forget – if you are a member then you get 10% off of most things in the shop, including the bird seed!

We hope you are all having a lovely transition into winter as the sun sets earlier, the nights get colder, and the landscape changes once again. Our 25 miles of trails are beautiful year round with something new to see in every season so be sure to keep us in mind as you plan out your weekends!

Gift Shop – Artist Feature

Our featured artist this week is Cilla Kitay of Cilla’s Creations. You can find her creative cement art in our Gift Shop year round. You will also be able to see an expansive inventory this Saturday at our Nature Center from 9 am-4 pm at our First Annual Artisan Fair!

Cilla Kitay started Cilla’s Creations from a simple desire to to make garden pots for her many plants. Little did she know that quest would lead her to fall in love with the unusual medium of cement. Her adventure in creating cement art and sharing her passion through teaching began in 2016. Cilla creates cement art for gardens, gifts and decor, and holds classes for children and adults in her studio. Having always loved nature, she sees it as a challenge to incorporate elements from the natural world into her art, often using large leaves, buds, and blooms in her creations.

Cilla lives and creates her art in Sharon, MA. For more information, visit Cilla’s Creations on Facebook.

Gift Shop – Artist Feature

Our Featured Artist this week is Rita Stuopis of Catbird Design. You can find her nature themed cards and gifts in our Gift Shop and you can come see her full inventory on June 8th at our First Annual Artisan Fair!

An Interview With Rita

What is Catbird Design’s mission:

To evoke an appreciation for nature and to educate about the beauty of our natural world, through my images of birds, insects, plants and animals;

To bring awareness of the important role that all species have within their ecosystems and how dependent they are on each other and on their habitats;

To inspire people to support conservation efforts.

How did you get started?

Throughout my life, I’ve always needed to express my creativity: through architecture, graphic art, silk screening, gardening, illustration and photography. In 2015, I completed a series of cat and penguin (cat and bird) illustrations, which I combined into a calendar, then started really getting into nature photography – and my small business – CatbirdDesign was born. Although I’ve felt a connection and a respect for nature since childhood, the more time I spent observing, photographing, and researching her creations, the more aware I became of how amazing yet fragile the habitats that support our fellow creatures really are…I soon developed an emotional attachment to my subjects and felt compelled to share their stories, their beauty, and their struggle to survive through my photography and through educational, interesting articles and images on social media.

What are your current products?

Nature themed cards, prints, jewelry, and gifts – all created using my photographic images.

Where people can find you online?

https://www.facebook.com/CatbirdDesign

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CatbirdDesign2015

What upcoming events will you have a booth at?

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary Artisan Fair – Saturday, June 8th, 9 am-4 pm. 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon, MA

Amazing Things Brick Market – Saturday, June 1, 2019 from 10am-4pm. 160 Hollis Street, Framingham MA 01702. Market takes place in the parking lot behind the Firehouse.

2019 Blue Hills Boosters Holiday Fair – Saturday, December 7th, 2019 10am-3pm. Blue Hills Regional Vocational High School, 800 Randolph St., Canton, MA 02021

Blue Hills Trailside Museum Fall Festival (early October) 1904 Canton Ave, Milton, MA 02186

Amazing Things Holiday Market (Late November) 160 Hollis Street, Framingham MA 01702

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!

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.