Author Archives: Karen Stein

Moose Hill CSA – Radishes and Arugula recipes

The CSA has had a great start and lots of radishes and arugula each week. You may find yourself looking for a change-up in how you can use your bounty of these items. Previously we posted a great recipe for Arugula Pesto and we have told many people about the wonders of roasting your radishes – so good!

A fellow shareholder, Sue, sent in these recipes for a few additional options – enjoy everyone! these sound delicious.

Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad

1 cup pearled farro (6 ounces)

1 cup fresh apple cider 

2 bay leaves 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 cup good olive oil 

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, whole or chopped 

1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley 

1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves 

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved through the stem 

1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes (2 to 3 radishes) 

2 cups baby arugula 

1/2 cup shaved Italian Parmesan cheese 

Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon 

Directions:

  1. Place the farro, apple cider, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the farro is tender. (If all the liquid is absorbed before the farro is tender, add a little more water.) Drain the farro and transfer to a large serving bowl. Discard the bay leaves.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt (many recommend reducing to 1/2 tsp), and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir the vinaigrette into the warm farro and set aside for at least 15 minutes to cool.
  3. Before serving, stir in the pistachios, parsley, mint, tomatoes, and radishes. Add the arugula and lightly fold in the Parmesan so as not to break it up too much. Sprinkle with the sea salt and serve immediately.

Grandmother’s Radish Leaf Soup from Epicurious

Ingredients

3 large bunches radishes

1 tablespoon butter

1 very large onion, chopped

4 russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, chopped

3 cups water

2/3 cup milk (can omit if you would like)

Preparation

Cut leaves from radishes and wash well. (Reserve radishes for another use.) Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add radish leaves and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes and 3 cups water. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to saucepan. Mix in milk. Stir over medium heat until hot. Season soup with salt and pepper.

It has also been noted that you an add in the garlic and scallions to this soup!

Moose Hill CSA – Arugula Pesto

A number of people remember this recipe from last year and loved it so we thought we would share again now that you are getting some great arugula. Do you have a favorite arugula recipe? Share it with us!

Arugula Pesto

Ingredients:
4 cups packed fresh arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, plus 1 tablespoon
1/8 teaspoon vitamin C (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the
arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.

Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts, and the vitamin C, if using. Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the arugula will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. The pesto will keep several days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Pull out before dinner to get to room temperature. Before serving, add the remaining 1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts.

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!

Master of Ceremonies: Moose Hill’s Shawn Moriarty

Shawn Moriarty, Moose Hill’s Education Coordinator and Camp Director, recently attended the Un-Conference in Colorado. Curious as to what that is? Read on and learn from Shawn!

view of the mountains from Boulder

My name is Shawn Moriarty and I am the Education Coordinator and Camp Director at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Recently I attended a three day event in Broomfield Colorado called the NCCPS-The Un-Conference (formerly National Challenge Course Practitioners Symposium). I have been going to this conference fairly regularly since 2002 and have been there 15 times since 2002. This year, not only was I an attendee, I was also the Master of Ceremonies for the gathering.

This conference is rather unique in a couple of ways. First, it is run almost entirely in the framework of Open Space. And secondly, it draws people from a wide range of backgrounds and professions. Open Space Technology is based upon work by Harrison Owen. The basic concept is that most of the conference is not created before the event actually starts. At NCCPS, the morning contains a brief 30 minute welcoming session to get people going for the day, followed by a 1-3 hour planning and organizing session to build the conference, and then some sessions. After lunch there are more sessions, dinner, and finally an optional evening program. On Saturday we end with a 2-3 hour sounding, or closing session, where people can speak about their experience at this conference.

the conference room is set

This year there were about 130 people in attendance. The number of participants fluctuates each year from about 130-190, so this year was a little smaller, but no less dynamic. There were high school students from a school in Denver that have an adventure based learning program at their school, therapists, corporate trainers, teachers, camp professionals, recreation specialists, professors, people from faith based programs, and environmental educators.

As the Master of Ceremonies, I ran the morning sessions where I brought people through a series of activities to get the brains and bodies moving and warmed up. Because we have both returning and first time participants, the activities provide a period of connection before content. These morning sessions have a mix of low and high energy to allow people to transition from their arrival to the conference space to getting into the learning of the day. I also facilitated and lead 2 fun evening events: Stay and Play, and The Talent Show. Stay and Play is an opportunity to come and play and/ or teach games with a goal of…playing. The best part is that often one game leads people to teach their own variation of that game. Time flies fast, and is filled with laughter. The Talent Show had jokes, poems, readings, a Taiko performance, original songs, and dancing. A nice evening of sharing skills and talents.

The process of creating the sessions for the conference begins with people stating the needs they have where they are looking for solutions. It could be anything from new activities, to safety concerns, to a new job. This lets people reach out and allows the community to know what people need. Opportunities for people with skills or backgrounds that might be able to help a need mentioned can connect directly with the individuals who are looking for that help. It also begins to build the ideas for session. Keep in mind that there are people who are brand new to this field of experiential education and folks who have been doing it for nearly 40 years. There are published authors in the group and people who frequently attend several national and international conference as presenters, as well as high school students. A wonderful range of people and backgrounds.

For me, it is always a joy to attend NCCPS and rewarding in a multitude of ways. I always get to reconnect with old friends, meet new people, learn new things and offer at least one session. This year I ran 2 sessions. The first was called Mindfulness through Nature Connection. In this session we shared thoughts on what mindfulness is, and several methods on developing it by engaging with the natural world. My second session was called Connection before Content. It focused on techniques to build connection between people in a group before you delve into delivering your content. In addition, I also lead a plenary session with 2 therapists, a corporate trainer, and a brain scientist on what we called Radical Empathy. Leading up to the conference, I had been talking with the hosts of the conference, Tom and Jen Leahy, about how to address the need for facilitators of groups to be more aware of the emotional and physical issues that they may or may not be aware of in the groups they work with. We wanted to look at how facilitators can be empathetic to people in their groups when they are working with them. We know that people might have gone through traumatic events in their past, they might not feel safe in their communities because of their age, gender identification, religious beliefs, political affiliation, or ethnicity. At this conference we work hard to create a space where every person can feel safe and welcome to speak their truth. It was a dynamic and rewarding session which lead to 2 other session being created to delve deeper into aspects of leading with radical empathy.

my gift for the participants

NCCPS is all about process. Exploring how to guide people through processes, and going through the process of creating a conference. And this year for me, there was an additional process. A tradition at NCCPS is to offer a gift of some sort, usually a book. I had my first book, Ropes of Ecology, published in October of last year, but it was not a broad enough topic for this group. So, in three weeks, I created and then self-published a book of readings called Around the Campfire for the conference. It was a tight turn around. The printed books arrived the day before the conference, and I had not actually seen the printed version before I arrived in Colorado. I think they came out alright!

On Tuesday, April 2, join me for an interactive talk from 7-8:30 pm at Moose Hill, touching on some of the concepts presented at this conference and to learn more about ropes of ecology: connecting people to nature, community, and place. Both my books, Ropes of Ecology and Around the Campfire, will be on-hand to view and for purchase. I look forward to sharing more about my work with you!

Shawn also works with schools, groups, and companies both large and small on Team-building and Community-building programming. To learn more about how you can learn to take time-out from your daily routine to focus on what makes your group work more effectively towards your goals, you can contact Shawn at 781-784-5691. Every program is custom-tailored to your needs and can focus on topics such as leadership, communication, planning, problem solving, and conflict resolution.

March Happenings at Moose Hill

It’s hard to believe that is already March 7 – where did the time go? Don’t worry, there are still some great happenings and plenty to share this month.

Chickadees!

March, a time when most of us really start to think spring, getting outside, enjoying the days getting longer, a slow warming happening. Meteorologically speaking, March 1 was the start of spring…but…then we had our snow finally hit home in a big way this past weekend. So it feels like winter has actually just settled in. And yet, we do truly begin to see those freezing nights and those days warming above forty degrees and the sap is flowing!

So as you begin to enjoy the change of season, the up and down of weather, take time to get outside and explore Moose Hill. Check out what’s happening this month.

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!

Exploring and having a little fun with Ms. Julia

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!

March 15: Maple Sugaring Behind the Scenes – during this 2-hour adult program we will have a maple syrup tasting, try some Mead made with our own honey and maple syrup, see our reverse osmosis machine and learn how it works, and get an up close tour of the evaporator in action.

March 16: Bag It – Is Your Life Too Plastic? – As part of Sustainable Sharon Coalition’s challenge to Bag the Bag in March, Moose Hill is excited to collaborate with this group and offer this free screening of the award-winning documentary. While this program is free, please register as space is limited.

March 20: 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.

tapped sugar maples

March 17, 23, and 24: Maple Sugaring Weekends – Moose Hill has shared the magic of turning sap into syrup with the community for 47 years! Join us to experience the sugaring process from tree to table and to learn how sugaring has evolved from Native American to colonial to our own current procedures. Spaces fill up quickly so grab your friends and register to secure your spot!

March 25: Moose Hill Mondays – not quite ready to commit to Knee High Naturalists, a 15 week program 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. 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!

the Nature Center at Moose Hill

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 is around maple sugaring! 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 artist pictures and products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. We also have a new collection of items as we welcome some new artists and their works on sale here at Moose Hill. Stop in and see the selection.

fresh, organic vegetables

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.

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!

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!


It’s Sugaring Time!

Trees are tapped and now we have the hardest job of all…waiting. We watch the temperatures so closely this time of year looking for temperatures to drop below freezing at night and days that warm above 40 degrees. That formula is the key to our sugaring season and signals our collection of sap to begin the process of creating maple syrup.

George and Martha, our 250+ year old sugar maples are tapped and ready to go

This year we will once again host our Sugaring Weekends, but we are adding a variety of new programs to help you enjoy, and learn, about the sugaring season with us. Oh, how sweet it is! Be sure to register early so that you can enjoy any, or all, of the fun.

Fledgling Fridays – designed for children ages 3-5 years and their adult(s), this program focuses on STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities. In March, we will focus 2 sessions on our sugaring season:

  • March 1 – this session will focus on maple trees and sap with an art activity and a hike to our sugar shack to see what is happening!
  • March 15 – this session will focus on maple syrup with an art activity and a hike to the sugar shack to check out the evaporator in action!

Maple Sugaring: Behind the Scenes – this adult program will focus on learning a bit more about the sugaring process. We will taste maple syrup; try some Mead made from honey from the hives here and our very own maple syrup; learn about our reverse osmosis machine; and enjoy an evening in the sugar shack under a maple cloud. There are two evenings to choose from: March 1 or March 15.

The maple cloud begins as water evaporates

Sugar-on-Snow – This sweet treat of hot syrup quickly cooled over snow (or ice if snow is lacking) is a true sign of the season. This program on March 3 is designed for anyone over the age of 6 and celebrates an iconic maple sugaring tradition!

maple syrup – a New England tradition

Cooking with Maple Syrup – Wondering how to incorporate maple syrup into your cooking? Looking for a healthy alternative to processed sugar in your kitchen? Curious about the different grades of maple syrup and how that can be important? During this adult program, we will do a tasting, learn about the benefits of maple syrup, make a few recipes and more!

Maple Sugaring Weekends – Moose Hill has shared the magic of turning sap into syrup with the community for over 45 years! Join us to experience the sugaring process from tree to table and to learn how sugaring has evolved from Native American to colonial to our own current procedures. Great for families, individuals, or scout groups! Pick your time slot and register for March 17, 23, or 24.

sugaring during colonial times

Maple Sugaring Season – are you a small group looking for a Friday afternoon activity? Visit Moose Hill’s maple sugaring operation during this magical time as winter turns to spring. Learn first-hand that trees make sugar and the process needed to create syrup! This one and a half hour program will be offered March 1 or March 15 with a start time of either 3:30 pm or 4:00 pm. Please call 781-784-5691 extension 8102 to learn more or to schedule.

School Groups – want your students to learn more about the sugaring operation? Check out our varied sugaring programs offered in February or March, or call to let us help you find the program that best fits your curriculum!

the sugar shack at Moose Hill

And while you are here, don’t forget to stop in the Gift Shop. We have a number of season-related products and gifts, and beginning mid-March, we will have our maple syrup on sale!

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!