Author Archives: Karen Stein

Teen Leadership Experiences at Moose Hill Nature Day Camp

by Shawn Moriarty, Moose Hill Education Coordinator & Camp Director

 In the world of summer camp, we talk about, explore, and teach leadership a great deal.  We spend time on the topic of leadership because we know as Camp Directors that if we want great staff, we need to train them in the skills we want them to have. And for many camp staff, working at camp is often their first job and they might not have a lot of experience in learning about leadership directly.

Leadership is one of those words that we hear frequently in a wide variety of contexts. There are thousands of takes on leadership in the arenas of business, organizational development, military tactics, athletics, and Ted Talks. There are debates on if leadership is made or innate inside of us.

If you are a parent and you have a young adult who is between 14-16 years of age, and you would like them to develop their skills in leadership, consider having them take part in one of our two leadership experience programs here at Moose Hill Nature Day Camp. We offer two programs: Leaders In Training (LIT) and Counselor In Training (CIT). They are different programs, and they both focus on developing leadership skills.

For those of you who have been with us for a few years, you will notice that we have changed the previous LIT program. It was a great program. And we are making the change to better serve our campers, camper families, and the future of camp. We have noticed two things: 1) We have a great group of older staff coming up through camp, and 2) Older campers can tend to have busy schedules during the summer.

We have redesigned our Leaders In Training (LIT) program and designed a new Counselor In Training (CIT) program to meet these two observations. The new redesigned LIT program is 1-week in length, and the participants will spend the week experiencing leadership first hand. The LITs will help run some activities during the week for the rest of camp, they will take a personal Leadership Skills Self-Assessment, and they will take part in leadership experience initiatives. The LIT program can be taken multiple times over the summer. The format will remain the same, and the activities will change. The LITs will not be assigned with a group of campers, but they will do activities with campers that they create. And while we offer this program at camp, it is not just about working at camp. The skills developed and explored in this program, can help the participants be better leaders outside of camp.

The new CIT program, provides a 2-week training for participants who want to develop skills needed to work at camp. In addition to working on leadership skills, the CITs will also help lead activities, learn topics on child development, participate in team experience challenges, and build their naturalist skills. The program is 2-weeks long and runs in sessions 2/3, 5/6, and 8/9. Sessions 4,7, and 10 are when CITs can come and get a week of experience with a group of campers. The 2-week sessions will allow the group of CITs to learn how to work together, and perhaps more importantly, build their skills together on what it takes to build a community. We are developing this program so that 1) the CIT’s who come out of this program have some great skills as camp staff, naturalists, and leaders, and 2) we get to invest in some of the people who could be the next generation of amazing staff here at Moose Hill Nature Day Camp.

 Leadership is a challenging topic. We will ask for the participants to give each day their best effort. We will ask them to try difficult tasks. We will give them responsibility. And we will give them tools to develop their skills as leaders. If your teen wants to build their leadership skills and understanding, consider giving them the gift of experiencing these programs. 

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Sign up for Leaders in Training

Contact Julia to sign up for Counselor in Training.

February Happenings at Moose Hill

winter can be beautiful!

And just like that we are half-way through January! In our little area of the state, we’ve had some mild weather and it shows. Weekends have been filled with people getting outside, taking a hike and enjoying the mild winter weather. We love seeing you here at Moose Hill – don’t forget, stop in and say hi to our great staff at the front desk (they can even make suggestions on new hikes for you depending on how long you want to be out), warm up (if you need to) and check out the Gift Shop for snacks and drinks.

February is on it’s way and we can’t help but think about Groundhog’s Day. Did you know that Massachusetts has an official groundhog? Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm’s very own Ms. G. We’ll have to see if her prediction (based on shadows don’t you know) will follow along with Punxsutawney Phil of national fame or will it be different?

Finding a mouse house in the bushes.

But no matter what February 2 brings from these furry prognosticators, we do know that there will be lots of things to explore at Moose Hill – from outdoor happenings to programs and vacation week camp! While you are out exploring, what signs are you seeing? Tracks of squirrels, coyotes, red foxes, fisher, raccoons? Are you hearing new things? Some birds will begin their territorial song and woodpeckers will be heard drumming away as they establish their territories. Will you see us out as we tap trees for sugaring season? Who says February is a slow month – so much happening and we even gain an extra day in this Leap Year:

Brunch with the Eagles – February 2, 8 am-4 pm: Sanctuary directors Doug Williams and Karen Stein are excited for their annual outing to Essex, CT in search of bald eagles and a tasty brunch at the historic Griswold Inn.

Knee High Naturalists – Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, 9:30 am-noon: Using games, songs, art, and plenty of outdoor hands-on/minds-on activities, Miss Patti explores the nature of Moose Hill with your 3-5 year old through the changing seasons.

Mead variety

Introduction to Mead Making – February 6, 6-8 pm: Curious about the oldest fermented beverage ever produced? This class takes you through the history, the variety, the simplicity (or complexity) of making mead. You will leave class with everything you need to begin making your own mead at home.

Tap-a-Tree – February 8, 10:30 am-12:30pm OR 1:30-3:30 pm: This hands-on class takes you through the very basics of tapping a tree in order to collect sap – from selecting your tree to hanging your bucket. We will then take over the hard part of sap collection and boiling it down for the sweet treat we all love.

Cell Phone Portrait Photography – February 8, 2-5 pm: love taking selfies or capturing you and your friends and family while your out on fun adventures but your pictures never quite work? Have we got the tips and tricks for you.

Barred Owl

Owl Moon – February 9, 6:30-7:30 pm: Experience the magic of Moose Hill after dark with a full moon in the sky! This program is especially designed for families with children ages 3-6 although all are welcome.

Fledgling Fridays – February 14 and 28, 1-2 pm: Designed for you and your child aged 3-5 and focusing on sensory development, each program has it’s own theme all while creating art, participating in STEAM activities, listening to stories, and exploring the outdoors.

Conversations and Cocktails: Maple Bourbon Apple Cider – February 15, 4-5:30 pm: Let’s talk maple sugaring while enjoying some snacks and a cocktail. Did we mention that sugaring season is right around the corner and as we gear up for producing our very own maple syrup, let’s enjoy that sweet treat in front of a fire in a few different, tasty ways.

Black-capped Chickadees

Late Winter Bird Identification – February 16, 1-3 pm: From which birds overwinter in our forests to what long distance migrants you might see, join Teacher Naturalist Michael Scutari for a hike to see, and hear, what is happening at Moose Hill and learn some simple techniques for bird identification.

February Vacation Week – February 17-21, 9 am-4 pm: It’s out-of school time that’s fun! Each day has a different theme and we will explore outside as much as the weather allows. Sign up for one day or for all five – before and after care options are available.

stoking the fire

Maple Sugaring Behind-the-Scenes – February 28, 7-9 pm: This program is designed for the adults! Learn about how we turn raw sap into maple syrup, complete with a variety of tastings of maple – drinks, waters, syrups – plus visiting the sugar shack at night is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Digital Photography for Beginners – February 29, 3-5:30 pm: Leap Day seems like the perfect day to learn more about that DSLR camera and gain the confidence to have full control over the image that you are creating. This class has both indoor time and a hike to gain some hands-on experience!

Star Gazing Nights – February 29, 7-9 pm: Let’s check out the stars on this Leap Day!

Curious about what’s coming? March is the height of sugaring season and there are a lot of programs to explore in our busiest, sweetest season! We are always adding new programs so check out the calendar often or follow-us on Facebook or Instagram. Have a program you would love to see us do? Let us know, we might just have something in the works.

OR are you already hoping for summer? Summer Camp registration has begun! And, Our summer CSA early bird registration last through February 29 – register before the price goes up in March.

Scheduling your time seem too much – no worries. Come for a hike on your own. Our trails are open when the parking lot is open (7:00 am-4:00 pm), 7 days a week. Stop in the Nature Center before you head out and let us help you plan your hike.

And while you are here, check out our Gift Shop. We have a wide variety of nature-themed products for sale, many from local artists. We also have Moose Hill branded items and snacks and drinks to enjoy.

No matter how you choose to spend your time this February, we hope that Moose Hill will be a part of your plans – we look forward to seeing you here.

January Happenings at Moose Hill

Chickadees – ever resilient in the winter

Winter is here! The weather is bringing us all the fun mix of winter options – snow, sleet, hail, ice storms, winds – and yet each day we are gaining a little bit more daylight (can you feel it?). As with most things this time of year, take time to think back and reflect…on your nature journey. Did you find time to spend time outside? There are so many ways to enjoy and appreciate the nature that is all around us. Perhaps you enjoyed a walk or a hike in a new location, or maybe you were in just the right spot to capture that wonderful sunset that filled the sky with amazing color, or perhaps nature inspired a story or a poem within you. However you connected, we hope that it was a wonderful year!

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. – Albert Einstein

As we usher in 2020 – a new decade – check out some of the programs we have put together for you:

Fledgling Fridays – January 3, 10, 17, and 31; 1:30-2:30 pm: This program designed for 3-5 year olds with their accompanying adult explores something new each week with STEAM activities, stories, and outdoor exploration. Come for one, or come for all.

Full Moon Hike – January 10; 7:00-8:00 pm: Discover the beauty of Moose Hill under a full moon. This program is designed for ages 6 and old, as well as adults – come call for owls and search the skies for constellations.

learn to paint the nature at Moose Hill

Sip and Paint Nature Night – January 11; 5:00-7:00 pm: Sip, socialize, enjoy a cozy fire, and get creative as local artist Jennifer takes you from a blank canvas to your own masterpiece, brushstroke by brushstroke. You will create a wintery scene inspired by the nature at Moose Hill; perfect for time with friends or family. 

School’s Out Nature Days – January 20; 9:00 am-4:00 pm: Spend your school day off here at Moose Hill. Each Nature Day has a different nature topic and will include outdoor exploration, nature play, crafts, stories, and fun activities. Before and After Care options available!

Nature Nerd Trivia Night – January 22; 7:00-9:00 pm: Enjoy a fun evening of nature trivia. You will learn about the passions of the Moose Hill staff and their curiosity – every night brings laughter, discussion, learning, and fun! January’s theme is mammals.

Star Gazing Night – January 24; 6:30-8:30 pm: Join astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern New England for a look at the stars and other night objects through their big telescopes.

coyote tracks in mud

Tracks and Traces – January 26; 2-3 pm: There are many animals that call Moose Hill home, but where are they? Start with the basics of animal track patterns and then head outside to look for evidence of our resident winter wildlife in this family friendly program.

Knee High Naturalists – new session begins January 4 or January 5! Designed for your 2-5 year old who will begin to explore Moose Hill with Miss Patti through games, songs, art, and plenty of outdoor, hands-on/minds-on learning experiences.

summer camp is coming…

Curious about what’s coming? February has plenty of programs to explore as we gear up and head into our busiest, sweetest season in March – sugaring! We are always adding new programs so check out the calendar often or follow-us on Facebook or Instagram. Have a program you would love to see us do? Let us know, we might just have something in the works. OR are you already hoping for summer? Summer Camp registration begins January 3 and our summer CSA registration begins January 7!

Scheduling your time seem too much – no worries. Come for a hike on your own. Our trails are open when the parking lot is open (7:00 am-4:00 pm), 7 days a week. Stop in the Nature Center before you head out and let us help you plan your hike.

And while you are here, check out our Gift Shop. We have a wide variety of nature-themed products for sale, many from local artists. We also have Moose Hill branded items and snacks and drinks to enjoy.

No matter how you choose to spend your time in the new year, we hope that Moose Hill will be a part of your plans – we look forward to seeing you here.

Reflections on the year

It’s hard to believe that 2019 will soon be coming to an end. The holiday rush is on, and yet, I still find time to take a step outside, enjoy a deep breath, and explore the nature at Moose Hill – a perk of working in such an amazing location.

On a recent walk as I was reflecting on the year and I am amazed at all of the programs, events, and activity that happened – it was a good year. One of my favorite programs is a trip I do with fellow sanctuary director, Doug, from Stony Brook down to Essex, Connecticut to search for Bald eagles every February. This year didn’t disappoint and the brunch at the Griswold Inn is always worth the trip! But February always turns our attention to the maple sugar season as trees are tapped and we wait for that weather to turn just perfectly for the sap to begin to flow.

This past year, we added a whole array of new programs to celebrate this short, but sweet, season. All programs that you will once again find this coming February, March, and early April. Tap-a-tree is for anyone who wants to try their hand at tapping one of our trees – the reward, your own bottle of Moose Hill maple syrup fresh from the season. Then we added, Sugar-on-Snow (an iconic tradition), Sweet Treats from Nature (cooking with maple syrup), and Maple Sugaring Behind the Scenes (an evening in the sugar shack). And, of course, we will continued our Maple Sugaring Weekends, a tradition now heading into its 48th season!

But new programs during the maple sugaring season was just getting us started – we continued Forest Bathing programs with Forest Therapy Guide Tam of Toadstool Walks; had fun with Nature Nerd Trivia Nights; re-invigorated the Gift Shop working with local artisans; started a new preschool-aged program for families, Fledgling Fridays to supplement our Knee High Naturalist program; added an artisan fair to our Native Plant Sale; partnered with Patriot Place to lead guided nature walks at the cranberry bog; enjoyed another summer concert with our favorite local band, The Second Precinct Jug Band; started our 70th summer of Nature Day Camp; had an amazing growing year on our 15 year-old organic farm; added Farm Conversations and Cocktails to enjoy the season; worked with friends and an amazing Chef from Farmstead Table Restaurant to highlight the many resources around us in our first Field Meets Fork dinner; welcomed an AmeriCorps team for just over four weeks; enjoyed another Halloween Prowl; developed and ran several nature photography classes; and installed a new electric vehicle charging station thanks to a program through Eversource and the generosity of Horizon Solutions. Like I said, it’s been a good year and this doesn’t even talk about all our school programming and the Youth Climate Summit held with sister sanctuaries Oak Knoll and Stony Brook at Wheaton College. We have a lot to be grateful for this past year.

And yet programming is not all that we do here. We have been charged with stewarding this property – almost 2,000 acres of forest, fields and wetlands. Working with our science team at Mass Audubon and through the efforts of property staff and volunteers, we continued work on several fields removing and keeping down invasive plants. During the Statewide Volunteer Day, we removed debris from the fields and seeded new native flowers and grasses as well as pushing back field edges creating that early forest/field edge habitat that is so needed for a number of native plants and animals. With the help, ideas, and skill of several regular volunteers, we were able to raise the boardwalk through the red maple swamp after it had been under water for almost 6 months following the wet Fall of 2018 and continued wet Spring of 2019. And, thanks to a generous donor, we built and installed a new tower for Chimney Swifts – we truly hope that because we built it they will come.

So how can we accomplish so much? Because of you – our volunteers, our members, our program participants, our shareholders, our visitors, and our donors. As you reflect back on this year, we hope that you find that you enjoyed time in nature on a walk, in a program, at an event, and that you consider making a donation to Moose Hill. Every dollar does count and as you can see, together with you, we can accomplish so much. We thank you for your support.

December Happenings at Moose Hill

bird bath in the fresh snow

Can you believe it’s December already? And we are seeing our first significant snowfall of the season? December is the month of holidays, invitations to parties, and lots of time with family and friends. With the hectic schedule, you may need some time to just unwind and take a breath – nature therapy is here. Check out all our happenings this month.

Fledgling Fridays – December 6, 13 and/or 20: each Friday from 1:30-2:30 pm, spend some time with your 3-5 year old exploring Moose Hill. Create art, participate in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities, listen to stories, and explore the outdoors every Friday afternoon. Each week has it’s own theme – choose one, or choose all of them!

Moose Hill Walkers – December 9 and 16: take a stroll with Ms. Patti on the trails at Moose Hill from 8:00-9:00 am. This relaxed pace hike is a great way to start your week!

Nature Nerd Trivia Night – December 11: grab a few friends or come to meet some new friends from 7:00-9:00 pm. You will enjoy an evening of laughter, discussion, learning and fun with snacks and drinks too!

Digital Photography Editing for Beginners – December 14: love taking pictures but wish that they were just a bit better? Editing can often bring your pictures to life. Join us from 1:00-3:00 pm for this beginners guide to organizing your galleries and editing your pictures.

Star Gazing Nights – December 21: We are fortunate to have have some wonderful astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern New England who love sharing their passion of looking at the stars and other night objects through their big telescopes with you. Enjoy the night sky between 6:30 and 8:30 pm; weather permitting!

December Vacation Days – December 26, 27, 30, and/or 31: out-of-school time can be fun with Moose Hill. We will explore the sanctuary and see what winter is bringing us this year. Sign-up for one day or all four!

Scheduling your time seem too much – no worries. Come for a hike on your own. Our trails are open when the parking lot is open (7:00 am-4:00 pm), 7 days a week. Stop in the Nature Center before you head out and let us help you plan your hike.

And while you are here, check out our Gift Shop. We have a wide variety of nature-themed products for sale, many from local artists. We also have Moose Hill branded items and snacks and drinks to enjoy.

No matter how you choose to spend your time December, we hope that Moose Hill will be a part of your month – we look forward to seeing you here.

Planning ahead – check out the many programs coming your way in 2020. We are always adding new programs so check out the calendar often or follow-us on Facebook or Instagram.

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 


  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


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)


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

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


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: or on Instagram:

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.