Category Archives: Moose Hill Camp

March Happenings at Moose Hill

It’s hard to believe that March is here! How did that happen? In a winter that has been a true roller coaster ride in temperatures but with a lack of real snow, at least in our area, it has been a great winter to get outside and explore. We’ve noticed a lot of things that have been different – from the sounds we are hearing to the birds and animals that we are seeing. What have you been noticing on your outdoor adventures this winter?

As each day gets a little longer, that weather that we truly look for in mid- to late- February and into March has arrived (at least some of the time). When we begin to see consistent nights below freezing and days that warm to 40-45 degrees F, we turn our programs and hearts to the sugaring season. Even as we enter March, we have already had an incredible start to the season. Maybe it was the tubing we added to parts of our operation, maybe it has been the right combination of temperatures, but either way we have SYRUP. The evaporator has been going and we are delighted with the bottles lining our shelves waiting for you in the Gift Shop. Stop on in, plan on pancakes or waffles tonight or this weekend and enjoy the sweet season!

There are lots of programs to choose this month – but remember, register early to secure your spot. Love a program and want to make sure it really does happen? Grab a friend or two and register together. Most programs need a minimum of 4-6 people and some programs will sell out quickly.

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. While sessions have begun, we still have some spaces available and you can still register. Contact Patti, 781-784-5691 for the prorated pricing.

Fledgling Fridays – March 6, 13, and 20, 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. In March, we explore many different aspects of the sugaring season!

Climate Cafe: Birds and the Changing Climate – March 10, 5:30-7:30 pm: Join Mass Audubon’s Director of Bird Conservation, Jon Atwood and our TerraCorps member, Maddy, for an evening of discussion. Snack and drinks will be provided at the FREE event held at the Sharon Public Library.

Maple Sugaring Behind the Scenes – March 13, 7:00-9:00 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!

Maple Sugaring Weekends – March 14, 15, 21 or 22, tours between 11 am and 3 pm: This 90-minute outdoor, guided tour includes meeting people portraying characters from the past as they go about their daily tasks, including sugaring. Conclude your tour at our operational sugar house and enjoy a taste of the final product. Head back to the Nature Center to get your own bottle of Moose Hill syrup in the Gift Shop and purchase pancakes, sap dogs or maple sugared popcorn. This program often sells out, so be sure to register to secure your spot!

Nature Nerd Trivia Night – March 18, 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! March’s theme Small Things in Nature.

Junior Conservation Commissioner Program – begins March 25, 4-5:30 pm: In partnership with Walpole’s Conservation Commission and the Walpole Recreation Department, Moose Hill is excited to provide children ages 9-11 years old a chance to become a Junior Conservation Commissioner. This five-session science and civics program led by Julia, a teacher naturalist from Mass Audubon’s Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, will take place at Blackburn Hall in Walpole with one scheduled field trip to Moose Hill.

Moose Hill Walkers – begins March 30, 8:00-9:00 am: Join Patti for a weekly walk to see the arrival of spring while learning the trails for walks later on your own. A great way to kick start your day and the best value is to register for the series!

Curious about what’s coming? April is just around the corner and so is April Vacation Week – plan early to secure your child’s spot in our popular vacation week programming. 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 and Summer CSA registration are in full swing!

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-7:00 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.

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.

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. 

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!

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!


January Happenings at Moose Hill – Happy New Year!

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

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

Knee High Naturalists – want your 3-5 year old to have a little more nature in their day? Miss Patti and our youngest naturalists will explore Moose Hill – each week will have a new nature- or science-related theme.

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

Fledgling Fridays – spend some great quality time with your child. Create art, participate in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities, listen to stories, and explore the outdoors every Friday afternoon. This hands-on, nature-based learning program is designed for children ages 3-5 with an adult. Each Friday we will have a different theme focusing on sensory development. Come for one, or come for all of them! Programs begin at either 1:30 pm or 4:00 pm!

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

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

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

Nothing like a hike under the full moon!

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

January 28 – Moose Hill Mondays – Not quite ready to commit to Knee High Naturalists but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly drop-off program for children ages 3-5 will feature a new seasonal nature theme each month with plenty of outdoor exploration/play complimented with indoor activities and crafts. Morning or afternoon programs available!

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

When you come, be sure to stop in the Nature Center and check out our Discovery Room – there are a number of touch tables to explore. I notice: what details do you notice about the items on the tables? I wonder: when you look at the items, what questions do you have? It reminds me of: do these items look like any other things you are familiar with?

Continue to the Blue Room where you can see pictures taken by sanctuary staff as they have been out and about exploring and teaching at Moose Hill. On your way to the Blue Room, be sure to stop and take a selfie at the Moose Antlers – if you line yourself up just right, you can capture yourself with a great Moose rack (don’t forget to tag us if you get a great photo; we want to see how much fun you are having)!

And be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop – honey from our fields, rocks and minerals, local artist pictures and products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. Wish we were carrying something else? Leave us a suggestion!

Are you daydreaming about summer? The Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary runs a summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with fresh, organic vegetables over 18 weeks. Registration for this program is now open; register before February 28, 2019 and take advantage of early bird pricing!

early season harvest

Thinking about summer camp? Registration will open for our 70th summer of day camp fun in mid-January! It will be another great summer with a few new programs!

No matter how you spend your time with us at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you here, exploring the nature of Massachusetts at our sanctuary!

Already looking ahead to what’s next? Check out all our upcoming programs starting in February and beyond – Vacation Weeks, Tap-a-Tree, Maple Sugaring, Weekend Hikes – there’s always something going on. Wishing for a particular program? Tell us, we might be planning it for the future!

Summer Happenings at Moose Hill in July!

Summer is officially upon us – kids are out of school, vacations are planned, family reunions will be happening, cookouts are scheduled and the summer camp season is upon us.

The summer offers a wide variety of options for people to get outside, enjoy the weather (yes, even the heat wave), and explore the nature all around them.

We hope that you will join us for a few things this July at Moose Hill:

Guided Nature Hike at the Bog – join us every Friday for this FREE program for all and explore the cranberry bog at Patriot Place in Foxboro with Moose Hill Teacher Naturalists!

July 7: The Bog at Poutwater Pond – this adult program requires registration; there’s still time – sign up today!

July 7: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

July 12: Concert on the Hill – once again we welcome back the 2nd Precinct Jug Band for a rocking evening for all! Bring a blanket, a picnic dinner, and join us for this FREE concert brought to you in part by Sharon Credit Union.

July 21: Family Camp Out – not sure if camping is for you? Just want to get away for the night? Join us for an easy camping experience! Space is limited and registration is required.

July 25: Bats! An Evening of Exploration – join us as we learn more about the bats found here at Moose Hill! This program for kids age 10 and older and adults does require registration – sign up early to secure your spot in this night program.

Plus, we still have some space in our summer camp AND the Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary has opened a Farm Stand on the weekends from noon-2 pm.

Not sure you want to pre-schedule your time? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 7 pm – make sure to have your bug spray, sunscreen, and water!

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!

New things at Moose Hill Camp

Spring is here! Although as I look out the window this morning on April 2nd, I am watching the snow fall. Despite the snow outside, we here at Moose Hill Camp, are getting ready for summer camp 2018! We have several new programs and special weeks that we are offering this summer. As you plan your summer for your kids, consider having them join our community for one week or multiple weeks. Here are the new programs we are offering this summer. If you have any questions about any of these programs, or anything else about our summer programs, please contact Shawn at smoriarty@massaudubon.org.

ART CAMP:
Writing: July 2-6. Week 3
Learn how to express yourself in words and pictures and craft your own book! You will learn how to create stories from beginning to end, and learn about telling stories with pictures. During this week, campers will spend time exploring Moose Hill’s property to find some inspiration for their stories regardless if the story is nature themed or not. Campers will also learn how to make their own paper from natural and recycled materials. We will use writing prompts and also learn about the process of telling a story.

Organic Art: July 23-27. Week 6
This week campers will spend the week harvesting materials from the landscape to make their own art and materials. We will be making our own charcoal, inks/ dyes, pens, brushes, and paper. While we will also use modern materials, the goal is to learn how to make some basic art tools that you can use at home.

Music Week: August 6-10. Week 8
This week we will be making our own music in a variety of ways. Monday and Tuesday we will get to explore music in nature, and several simple instruments. We might even make a few simple instruments. Then, Wednesday through Friday we will have Maine folk musician Doug Day as a musician in residence. On early Friday evening after camp, Doug will be giving a free concert with the campers who can be here playing a combination of his songs and ones written that week. Here is a little more about Doug from the Maine Arts Commission and the Sweet Chariot Music Festival.

SCIENCE CAMP:
Climate Science: July 2-6. Week 3
This week the campers will be looking at the Climate and Climate data from here in Massachusetts. Climate is a big topic, and we will look at breaking it down into smaller portions so we can get a good understanding of what is happening with our weather over a long period of time. We will also be using Mass Audubon’s State of the Birds as one of the resources in exploring climate effects in Massachusetts.

Conservation Science: July 16-20. Week 5
There are many ways that people help take care of and protect the nature of Massachusetts and beyond. During this week we will be looking at who are some famous conservationists and what they did to help save certain areas of nature. We will also be talking with some folks who are actively in the field doing conservation work. We will spend time exploring an invasive species removal project that we have going on here on Moose Hill.

Earth Science: July 30-August 3. Week 7
There are several systems that operate in the natural world in synchronicity. During this week, in addition to exploring Moose Hill, campers will learn about the water cycle, food web, geology, weather, and the atmosphere. While out on camp, they will get to see Earth Science up close and personal.

GARDEN CAMP: Ages 7-9. Weeks 5-10 (July 16-August 20)
We have had Farm camp for several years. And we had a number of younger campers express an interest in learning about farming. And so, we created Garden Camp. Garden Camp will be based at the Farm House which is just across the street from the main nature center at Moose Hill. We will have several raised garden beds that we will be learning about, tending, and harvesting from. Campers will get to plant, take care of plants in various stages of growth, and harvest vegetables from the garden. Garden campers will also explore Moose Hill’s extensive trail system and, of course, we will visit The Farm at Moose Hill during the week.

NATURE ADVENTURE CAMP: Ages 12-15. Weeks 2-10. (June 25-August 20)
This new program is for our older campers who still want to be outside and explore while learning some new skills. Nature Adventure Camp campers will get out and explore parts of Moose Hill that not many people get to see. This group will be small in size, no more than 6 most likely, and big on exploration. In addition, campers will be learning navigation skills, and basic survival skills around shelter, water, and fire. This group will be a small community that will really get to know Moose Hill in a different way.

The Moose Hill Camp Difference

Summer camps all around Massachusetts are getting ready to start in June as we roll into the end of May. Schools are winding down, and the weather is starting to more reliably feel like summer. Gardens are going in, and the biting insect population is becoming more evident. Yes, summer is coming soon. Thousands of kids all around the greater Boston area will be heading to a wide variety of day and resident camps of all kinds and sizes. Parents are awash in a variety of choices of where to send their kids for summer. We here at Moose Hill offer a unique option for kids’ ages 3-16, Moose Hill Camp.

What makes Moose Hill Camp different from the numerous other camps in the area? Our focus on Nature, Connection, and Community.

We spend our days in Nature. While many other day camps also spend a good deal of time outdoors doing all kinds of activities, we spend our days immersed in Nature and our programming revolves around the natural world. Our campers experience Nature up close and personal. They not only learn about many aspects of the environment – plants, animals, trees, and natural cycles – they also learn what nature looks, smells, tastes and sounds like. Our goal is to connect our campers to the natural world through direct personal experience.

The natural world is full of connection. We are connected to the trees and plants through the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with our breathing and the plant’s photosynthesis. We are part of the of the energy cycle in the food we eat. And weather and climate have influence on our daily lives. Everyday our world is full of connections. At Moose Hill Camp we strive to not only build connections between campers and the natural world, but also to help campers build positive connections to other campers. Connections made at camp can and do last for years. And our connections, help build the foundation of our community.

Our community consists of our place – Moose Hill, our campers and staff, and our camper families. Moose Hill offers an amazing place to spend time together with other people. Our campers will have the opportunity to explore wetlands, forests, and fields every day. They will get to do this with their age groups, as part of the whole camp, and on their own.

Campers and staff get the opportunity each week to build small age-similar communities and experience mixed age community activities as well. Our staff also act of mentors to our campers in terms of learning new skills, nature connection, and environmental knowledge. Camp staff are in a unique position to interact and mentor campers. They are not the camper’s parents, nor are they school teachers. They are passionate, caring, skilled, and responsible adults and young adults who are here for the campers.

We start and end each camp day with a camp circle. We sing songs, perform skits, ask questions, check in with each other, and enjoy our community. We also invite parents, caregivers, and other family members to join us on our Friday closing circle to end each session at camp.

In addition to nature, connection, and community, we also focus on having fun! Camp is built on making sure that each day we have fun. The simple act of playing together, singing silly songs, getting dirty, and laughing together is a crucial part of our day. The power of play cannot be underestimated. Just as a bobcat kits learn how to be adult bobcats by playing and trying new skills, our campers learn valuable life skills such as cooperation, listening, self-efficacy, and planning through play.

The author David Viscott once wrote: The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away. We at Moose Hill Camp want to help your camper discover their gift or gifts, give them some tools to help develop those gifts, and then help build their self-efficacy so they know how to give those gifts to others. I know that this all sounds fairly lofty and maybe even a little out there. But, in my thirty plus years of working in camps and the outdoors, I know that camps can produce real magic in terms of helping to grow good kids.

I want to end with one of my favorite Henry David Thoreau quotes since this year is the 200th anniversary of his birth.  If you have any questions about our camp program, please contact me, Shawn Moriarty, at smoriarty@massaudubon.org.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.                                                                               –Henry David Thoreau

There are still spaces available in our camp – learn more about our program, what a day at camp looks like, our philosophy and credentials, and register today!

We look forward to reconnecting with our returning campers, and welcoming new campers into our community.