Category Archives: Moose Hill Camp

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.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

As the end of each calendar year approaches, it’s hard not to look back and reflect on the many wonderful experiences, sometimes a few challenges, and the continued successes that propel us into our next year.kay

This year, one of our reflections is to look back over the time that Kay Andberg (Mrs. A) has spent at Moose Hill. After 23 years of leading Moose Hill’s camp and school and group programs, Kay has decided to retire. With grandchildren calling her name, the timing just seemed right.

Over the last 23 years, Kay’s passionate, positive, and supportive role as Camp Director has connected children of all ages with the wonders of the natural world around them. When you have an education coordinator who finds wonder in everything around her and then wants to share that with everyone, and we do mean everyone, that she meets, well, let’s just say it makes it hard to say goodbye.

When we reflect on our programs, it’s easy to see how Kay’s guidance has provided campers, camp-2014-week-11-098students, teacher naturalists, counselors, volunteers, and even visitors with a place (Moose Hill) where they can feel at home. It has become a place where those teaching can find equal value in watching and engaging with the campers or the students; play becomes a natural way to engage with the world around you and to discover and learn so much more.

But, while Kay may not be with us on a daily basis, she will continue to be involved here at Moose Hill – with advice, with stories, with ideas, and with grandchildren, family, and friends in tow as she introduces them all to this great big backyard of exploration.

So what happens next? Moose Hill is actively seeking our next Education Coordinator and Camp Director who should be with us as spring of 2017 begins to arrive. In the meantime, our incredible education staff and teachers will still be here, channeling Kay’s inner voice and continuing to provide the engaging, fun, and educational programming expected by our campers, our students, and our visitors.

Kay’s last day will be Friday, December 30, 2016. She will, appropriately, be spending that last week with vacation week campers.

Wished you had a chance to say goodbye? Don’t worry, you can! We will have a goodbye gathering for Kay on May 21, 2017, when the weather will be more cooperative. Come and have a chance to share your stories and memories with Kay. More details to come in April, so watch our enewsletter, News from the Hill, for updates.

Eco-Champions!

Join Moose Hill Camp’s adventure team for a fun week of exploring amazing places, enjoying ocean beaches, visiting with scientists, and discovering how you can make a difference by becoming a champion for ecosystems and wildlife!

During the Eco-Champions session, campers ages 10 to 14 will:

  • learn how sick, orphaned, and injured wildlife are cared for and rehabilitated at the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth. This informal hands-on science education organization uses veterinary medical care and wildlife rehabilitation as a way to educate stranded-sea-turtlesstudents about the care of captive wildlife and exotic pets – raccoons, snakes, turtles, birds of prey – oh my!
  • see how injured marine mammals are cared for at the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay. Stranded marine mammals and sea turtles are rehabilitated and released in order to advance science education in marine wildlife health and conservation.
  • visit Daniel Webster wildlife sanctuary in Marshfield and Allens Pond wildlife sanctuary in Westport. Set out along their trails with a conservation scientist and learn how they are researching and protecting endangered and threatened species of birds such as Eastern Meadowlarks, American Kestrels, Saltmarsh Sparrows, and Piping Plovers.
  • swim at various beaches; and have loads of fun along the way!

This adventure camp will run July 25-29, 9-4 daily. Space is available to become an Eco-Champion! Register today to secure your spot; learn more about our other Adventure Day Trip camps.

2015 wk11 bluff jumpWe can’t wait for the adventure to begin!

Reflections on Moose Hill Camp

Nick Culhane is currently attending college in Denver. We will miss seeing him this year after spending 14 summers with us – but we are excited for his next adventures and the role we played in his life; he will always be a part of our Moose Hill family!

Moose Hill Camp has been a major part of my childhood and young adult life. I remember my first day of camp when I DSCN2235was dropped off at the young age of seven. Just like every child when coming to a new place for the first time, I was both nervous and excited.

My nerves quickly went away during that first week when I meet my awesome camp counselor (Matt!) and the other campers in my group. Because group sizes are smaller, campers really get a chance to bond and make friends – it’s just one great aspect of Moose Hill Camp. To this day, I still talk often with a friend I met while at camp, and we reflect on our summers at Moose Hill.

This truly is an outdoor experience, just another characteristic that makes this camp great. Unless there is an absolute down pour happening, one can expect to spend their day outside, exploring through the forests. As a young child I was unsure how I felt about the outdoors, and I had a massive fear of bees (I still do today), but after the first Monday morning nature walk, I was hooked on being outside!

fort funMoose Hill has a bit of everything when it comes to nature. There are fields to play games in, swamps and ponds to search for frogs and a variety of unique insects, pine forests to build small forts in, and, of course, the infamous Bluff hike with a great view of the surrounding towns and Gillette Stadium.

The number one lesson I learned as a camper – nature is awesome and needs to be explored! To this day I consistently go hiking and camping, and I thank Moose Hill Camp for teaching me that nature is wonderful.

My great experience as a camper convinced me that I had to become a Leader-in-Training (LIT). This is a very unique and awesome position. Even though you are still a kid (ages between 14-15), you are responsible for setting a good example to all the younger campers. You lead free time events, as well as option time on Thursday afternoons, a much sought after camper activity.

As a 14 year old kid, all I wanted to do was lead the active games and go for hikes. Yet this program challenged me to expand my horizons into the scary world of arts and crafts (for me anyhow). I remember when the leaders for the LIT program, Patti and Matt, asked me to do an NickInvitationCirclearts and craft option and I reluctantly agreed. However, this experience challenged my creativity and ultimately gave me the opportunity to meet new campers. It gave me an appreciation for how Moose Hill includes all types of children at their camp. They have activities for everyone from an energetic young child who loves to run (me!) to a creative child who loves to draw, and read books and magazines. As an LIT, I gained an appreciation for how every child is their own person and has different skills and hobbies.

After a few years as an LIT, I took the next step and applied to become a camp counselor where I learned about camp from a whole new perspective. The counselors meet at the end of the day, allowing us to see just how much Moose Hill cares about their campers. We talked about any difficulties, and shared a variety of ideas with each other to help campers have the best experiences possible. I wasn’t even aware how much the camp director and the counselors truly cared about the campers; it is what makes this camp stand out among so many others.

2015 Nick farm groupBut, by far, the most important thing that I learned was the emphasis this camp places on education for the children. As a camper, I remembered how everyday we learned about a different animal or plant. But, as a counselor, I learned just how difficult it can be to plan a lesson. After my first day on the job, it became clear that I needed to start planning my lessons both the weekend before, and the night before, camp started.

While it can sometimes be hard to get a bunch of young children to learn about anything during the summer, over the two years I worked at camp, I learned how to use the awesome nature at Moose Hill in my lesson plans. I remember searching in fields for specific insects, doing experiments to see which foods ants like the best (answer: food with the highest amount of sugar!), and using the awesome teaching bins and folders Moose Hill has available in their staff rooms. This experience gave me a great understanding of how hard a teacher’s job can be, but at the same time it is also so rewarding.

I remember when a camper ran to their parent at pickup time because they wanted to tell them everything that they had learned about a specific animal or plant I had talked about that day. It was the greatest joy I had while I was part of the staff at Moose Hill. Because of my experiences as a camp counselor, I decided to pursue a future in education when I entered college. This was a change from my original goal to become a research pharmacist. wk3 predator prey Nick

Education is so important for every child in the world, and thanks to my time at Moose Hill, I now understand how important a great teacher can be in the life of a child. Moose Hill Camp is a great place for any child to spend their summer because of the awesome adventures through the forests, the activities for all types of children, the staff that care about each camper on an individual level, AND because the campers leave with a better understanding of the importance of nature and why it needs to be protected.

If you would like to learn more about Moose Hill Camp, meet some of the current counselors and a few other families, join us for a meet and greet Open House on June 21 at 6 pm. We look forward to sharing our summer with you!