Category Archives: Musings up on the Hill

fancier word for news

Volunteer Opportunities

Fall is here and there is so much to do – we are looking for some new volunteers to join us. Learn more about Moose Hill, our mission, and our programs and events!

Visitor Services 

For a rewarding opportunity to experience the many aspects of Moose Hill and interact with our visitors and staff, join us as a Visitor Services Volunteer. We currently have positions open on weekdays Monday-Friday. Applicants must enjoy working with visitors of all ages and be able to interact in a friendly and professional manner. Duties may include: welcoming and assisting visitors, providing information about the sanctuary, explaining regulations, answering telephone inquiries, processing memberships, and gift shop sales. Familiarity with the sanctuary is a plus. Nonsmoking environment. We offer ongoing training and support. Minimum age 18.

Available Shifts: weekdays either 9 am-12:30 pm or 12:30-4 pm, Monday-Friday

 

Halloween Prowl Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers to help with our popular Halloween Prowl scheduled for October 26, 27, and 28, 2018. Volunteer one, two, or all three nights. We appreciate any and all help.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Portraying a character: Characters perform their 5 minute skit 12 – 20 times per night (depending on which night you are volunteering). Costume and script are provided. Friday, volunteers are needed from 5:30-9 pm; Saturday, volunteers are needed from 4:15-9 pm; and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 4:15-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task at an assigned station.
  • Leading the campfire sing-a-long: Lead songs around a fire after participants enjoy the guided walk. Guitar helpful, but not necessary. Volunteers are needed on Sunday from 5-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task in our side yard, near the Visitor Center.
  • Leading groups along the trail: Guides lead two, hour-long walks per evening along our Prowl trail. Training and a daytime walk thru provided. Volunteer hours are varied according to our needs and your schedule. This is an outdoor task, walking along candlelit paths, sometimes over uneven ground with limited to no flashlights.
  • Carving pumpkins: help us carve LOTS of pumpkins on Thursday, October 25, 2018 anytime between 1-8 pm; stay as little or as long as you wish to carve. This is an indoor task unless the weather is amazing! A great opportunity for scouts and other community groups; we supply the pumpkins, you bring your favorite carving tool (we have a limited supply to share). Stop by after the event weekend – beginning Monday after 9 am and up to noon on Tuesday to claim your pumpkin for your own Halloween celebration.
  • Serving refreshments: bag pre-popped popcorn and make hot chocolate for participants to pick up after their tour. Friday, volunteers are needed from 6:45-9 pm and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 5-8:30 pm. This is an indoor task.
  • Checking in participants: Greet and check-in arriving participants/groups. Friday, volunteers are needed from 6:45-9 pm and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 5-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task at an assigned station; table and chair provided.
  • Keeping the candles lit: Help us light all the candles before the event starts. We will provide clicker lighters. Initial lighting: Friday, volunteers are needed from 5:00-6:30 pm; Saturday, volunteers are needed from 4-5:30 pm; and Sunday, volunteers are needed from 4-5:30 pm. If you are available to stay throughout the event we greatly appreciate the help relighting candles and blowing out candles at the end of the night. This is an outdoor task, walking along candlelit paths, sometimes over uneven ground.
  • Helping set up the luminaries: We set up the luminaries on Friday, October 27, 2017 beginning around 1 pm. Typically this takes an hour or so to complete; you are walking on our trails following the truck of supplies over uneven ground.
  • Help with the S’more fire: Help at the S’mores fire by managing the fire and offering extra marshmallows should one drop into the fire pit. Parents are responsible for helping their child make their S’mores. It’s a gooey fun time! Sunday, volunteers are needed from 5-8:30 pm. This is an outdoor task in our side yard, near the Visitor Center.
  • Taking pictures during the event: Help us capture images of the costumed characters, the event stations and groups of participants. Looking for photographers who have experience with night photography; hours are flexible during each night of the event.

 

Sugar Shack – Fall

Though our sugaring season doesn’t start up until early spring, the sugar shack crew always needs volunteers to help split and stack wood in the fall so that it can properly dry throughout the early winter and be ready to boil sap in February.

Typical hours are Wed & Thurs from 10 am to noon.

Sugar Shack – Spring

We need volunteers to help collect sap from the sugar bush, boil the sap in the evaporator, and share maple knowledge with program participants. Most volunteer hours are weekday mornings and training is provided. Start date will be updated as we near spring.

Maple Sugaring Weekend Events – Spring

Lead groups along the event trail, portray a character, pop popcorn, manage indoor activities at the Visitor Center, help in the sugar house, and/or sell maple-related treats. Training is provided. Specific dates and times will be updated as we near spring.

Want to learn more about any of these opportunities? Please contact Danielle Lanson, Volunteer Coordinator, for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Autumn settles in at Moose Hill this October!

It is beginning to really feel like autumn out there – a coolness in the morning and the evening and warmth in the middle of the days. Everywhere you look you can see signs of the changing season – a few pops of color, the dropping of leaves, the busy activity of the squirrels and chipmunks as they store food for the coming winter. What a great time to be out and about at Moose Hill exploring our trails and enjoying this season.

Here are a few of the programs and happenings this October at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you at programs or on the trails!

Moose Hill Walkers – join Patti on Mondays for a walk on our trails as we watch autumn arrive at Moose Hill. This is a great way to learn more about our trails for future explorations on your own – you can register for the series (the best deal!) or pay each time you come along.

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.

NEW program 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!

October 15 – NEW program: 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!

October 17 and 21: Bird Banding at Moose Hill – Did you know that the individual identification of birds provides useful information for both research and management projects? Information gathered during bird banding makes possible studies of dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure, life-span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth. Join us for this adult program and learn about the bird banding at Moose Hill and within Mass Audubon. We will take a night walk to our banding station where we will have a chance to potentially see a saw-whet owl up close and learn about the whole process.

October 20 – NEW program: Saturday Morning Hike – Hike Moose Hill once a 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. Starting in November, these hikes will always take place on the first Saturday of the month – join us for one or all of them!

October 20: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! This month we are celebrating International Observe the Moon Night so the moon will be the feature event! We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

October 21: Fall 3-Week Forest Bathing Series at Moose Hill – Discover Mass Audubon’s oldest wildlife sanctuary and experience the healing benefits of Moose Hill in a whole new way on these slow-paced guided therapeutic combination of leisurely walking, sitting, and observation. This is a chance to unplug, slow down, and de-stress through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to deepen our connection with nature.

October 25: Carve a Pumpkin – Help us carve pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns for our annual Halloween Prowl. We will have plenty of pumpkins and a few design ideas, but we need your carving expertise. All abilities are welcome to help; please bring your own carving sets/knives.

October 26, 27 and 28: Halloween Prowl – Join us for Moose Hill’s annual Halloween tradition. For over 35 years this individual and family favorite has been delighting guests – what characters might we have on the trails this year? Reserve your time soon as space sells out quickly.

And, be on the lookout for our next Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Do you think you know nature? Can we stump you? join us for 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! Last month’s very first trivia night was a blast – even some of the staff were stumped!

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 wear the proper footwear and have your water! Have younger kids? Bring them for a little unstructured play time in Cookie’s Garden, our nature play area or go for a hike along the UnNatural Trail. Just stop in the Nature Center and our Visitor Services staff will point you in the right direction. And while you are in the Nature Center, be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop – new items have arrived and the first 3 weekends in October offer special sales – curious? Stop on by!

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!

Autumn Happenings at Moose Hill in September!

As the hustle and bustle of summer camp ends on this last day of August and we begin to transition into a new season, it always seems so quiet here on the hill. But don’t worry, there is still a lot to do in September and hopefully the cooler breezes of Autumn will be upon us!

Here are a few things to explore at Moose Hill throughout September – we look forward to seeing you on the trails and at programs!

Moose Hill Walkers – join Patti on Mondays for a walk on our trails as we watch autumn arrive at Moose Hill. This is a great way to learn more about our trails for future explorations on your own – you can register for the series (the best deal!) or pay each time you come along.

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.

September 8: Mt. Watatic Hawk Watch – Join Stony Brook sanctuary director Doug Williams for our annual pilgrimage to North Central Massachusetts for a chance to observe some of the thousands of hawks that migrate south through the area each fall. If you have never been on a hike with Doug, you have missed out! Not only will we observe hawks but, as an exceptional naturalist and botanist, you will learn a bit about the northern hardwood and hemlock forest along the way.

September 15: 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.

September 16: September Bug Count; Late Summer Choristers – Join naturalist and “bug guy” Michael for an early evening walk to learn about, listen for, and identify these chorusing invertebrates!

September 20 and 27: Birding the Farm Fields – Join Vin Zollo as we look at what birds are taken advantage of the open farm fields during fall migration.

September 26: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Do you think you know nature? Can we stump you? join us for 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!

Plus, the Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary has a Farm Stand, open on the weekends from 11:00 am-3:00 pm. Get your fresh, organic veggies right here!

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! Have younger kids? Bring them for a little unstructured play time in Cookie’s Garden, our nature play area or go for a hike along the UnNatural Trail. Just stop in the Nature Center and our Visitor Services staff will point you in the right direction!

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!

Gift Shop Changes

You may have noticed some changes afoot in our Gift Shop at the Nature Center. We are in the middle of a complete revamp so the selections have been a little on the leaner side but that is all soon going to change! We have plans for a grand re-opening in the fall that we will be announcing soon.

The first major change that we are making involves bottled water. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary will no longer be selling bottled water in order to continue Mass Audubon’s efforts in lowering our carbon footprint. We will instead have an assortment of Mass Audubon and Moose Hill water bottles that you can easily fill at our filtered bottle filling station next to the public bathrooms in the Nature Center. We will have a few different styles and sizes to fit everyone’s needs.

Next, in addition to the Moose Hill honey and maple syrup that we offer seasonally, you will soon start seeing a lot more Moose Hill branded hats, shirts, pins, and other smaller gifts. Our book selection will also be expanding with more options for young and old alike. We will be a great stop come this gift giving season with plenty of novelty options that your friends and family will enjoy for years to come. As we are building up our inventory over these next couple of months, drop in and let us know if there is anything you want to see us selling in the shop. We have a suggestion box next to the cooler in our shop and appreciate hearing your recommendations.

The shop will be closed for the first week of September in preparation for the grand re-opening, so we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. But once we get everything all cleaned, painted, and organized, we will be having sales every weekend in October on different select items such as bird feeders and books so be sure to stop by!

the Harvest Grows

As the harvest on the farm continues to increase, we often receive a number of questions about what happens with all the crops that we are growing. We wanted to be sure that our shareholders are aware of the many things that this farm is doing with the harvest.

The Share Bin

Unlike a farm market where a person can choose the vegetables they love, a CSA provides a mix of the vegetables. The farm chooses what vegetables to grow that season (some based on experience, some based on the availability of sourcing organic, and some based on shareholder interest). As you can imagine, there will always be vegetables that everyone loves and there will be vegetables that are not loved as much. That is where a share bin comes in – shareholders can “give” to fellow shareholders the vegetables that they don’t want and likewise they can take vegetables form the share bin that they do want. By actively using the share bin, this leaves less “extras” at the end of the night that will then either be composted or packed for a food pantry. Our Farm Apprentices have reported that as the season moves on, the share bin has been quite successful this year!

But, there are times when vegetables are not properly moved over, so our apprentices are keeping track of how many shares still need to be picked up and how much is left in the distribution bins. If they find that there appears to be lots of “extras” of any vegetable, then they will move more over to the share bins. At the end of the night, the vegetables not claimed are packed and taken to local food pantries.

Food Pantries

Each year, we make a commitment to plan for and harvest additional crops to donate to food pantries. As the season gets in full swing, we will add unclaimed vegetables at the end of distribution to the food pantry deliveries. This usually begins in July, when we start to see more vegetables coming in. This year, we are delighted to be delivering to Isle Marks in Stoughton (which is also the food pantry for Sharon), a family shelter in Attleboro, and the Foxboro Food Pantry. Thank you to those shareholders who have committed to helping us in this endeavor by picking up and delivering – we appreciate your help.

Buy-a-Bucket

As with any farm, we are always looking for opportunities to reach new audiences and diversify our income stream to create a sustainable financial future. There are so many rising costs of running the farm and we need to look at ways to bring in new income. Diversifying helps us to keep the cost of the share at a mid-range when compared to other local CSAs and still balance our expenses. The Buy-a-Bucket program is one way to help offset these costs. Our shareholders still get their fair share at distribution but if they are looking for an extra volume of a crop for canning or preserving, this is it. Plus, by offering the Buy-a-Bucket on the weekends, we get to introduce our organic farm to others; it is definitely a win-win! Whether you are a shareholder or new to our farm fields, this is a great deal for these crops and we don’t have to watch vegetables go to waste in the field. For this program, we always offer a special rate for our shareholders and a higher rate for non-shareholders. If a shareholder stops by on the weekend to take advantage of the Buy-a-Bucket, just be sure to tell Jesse or Matt that you are a shareholder to receive the special rate!

the Farm Stand

Another opportunity to diversify our farm and to reach new customers is with a Farm Stand on the weekends. In the past, we only harvested on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – the days of distribution. Even though we had a Saturday pick-up, we did not harvest that morning. In essence we had 2 full days that the fields were left alone. As many of you already know, 2 whole days of not harvesting can mean the loss of some great vegetables that over-ripen by the Monday harvest. With the Farm Stand, we harvest each morning and can continue to get the most from our fields. Don’t worry, we planned for the Farm Stand with our farmer – we planned 300 shares for shareholders and an additional 100 shares for Farm Stand, Food Pantry, and Buy-a-Bucket programs.

the Farm Table

At the end of the Farm Stand sales on Sunday, any remaining vegetables are stored and then placed at a Farm Table located at our Nature Center for camp families and visitors to purchase. Once again we are increasing the awareness of our farm, and helping to cut down on waste.

Over the last 13 years, there have been many changes to our farm and we are sure that in the future there will continue to be additional changes. But, our farm began with a focus on a CSA, and that continues to be our main focus. As you may know, each year we assess the CSA through an end of season survey. It is from these surveys, conversations with our farmer, and our experiences in the fields that some of our decisions for the future are made. Most importantly, we are looking at long-term sustainability and trying to balance all the varied requests and needs of our shareholders while making sure that the goals of The Farm, Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon are best met.

We look forward to seeing you on the Farm!

Summer Happenings at Moose Hill in August!

We are embracing the heat and humidity because what else can you do! So go on, get outside, explore, and sweat through the fun with the rest of us.

Here are a few things to come and explore at Moose Hill this August – we hope to see you soon:

Guided Nature Hike at the Bog – join us on Fridays for this FREE program for all and explore the cranberry bog at Patriot Place in Foxboro with Moose Hill Teacher Naturalists!August 10: Concert on the Hill – We are excited to welcome Doug Day, our featured artist during Music week at our camp! Doug plays a mix of folk music interspersed with stories and choruses for all to join in. Doug is the founder of the Sweet Chariot Music Festival in Maine, which has been running for 25 years on Swan’s Island. Bring a blanket, a picnic dinner, and join us for this FREE concert brought to you in part by Sharon Credit Union.

August 18: 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.

August 25: 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.

Plus, we still have some space in our summer camp – we run camp through August 31!

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!

Last Call for Native Plants!

We still have a few of our native plants left that are strong, healthy and have been loved for the past month, but it is now time for the last call to purchase native plants!

Stop by the Visitor Canter before July 16 for the final deals of the summer on our native plants!  Add beauty to your garden and support Moose Hill.

Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern

  • Part to full shade
  • Rich soil
  • Grows 1 to 3’ high
  • Evergreen…great border plant
  • $7

Red Columbine

  • Part shade to part sun
  • Any soil
  • Grows 1 – 2’ high
  • Blooms April – July
  • Hummingbird favorite!
  • $5

Beardtongue

  • Sun to part shade
  • Any soil
  • Grows 2 – 4’
  • Blooms May – July
  • Butterfly favorite and deer/rabbit resistant!
  • $5

Pale Spiked Lobelia

  • Part shade – sun
  • Med wet – med dry soil
  • Grows 1 – 2’
  • Blooms June – August
  • White to pale blue flowers
  • $5

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!

The Bog at Patriot Place

Have you ever taken a hike at The Bog behind Bass Pro Shops at Patriot Place in Foxboro?

If you haven’t, you are missing out on a beautiful location! Recently Moose Hill has partnered with Patriot Place to bring you a series of Friday walks at The Bog. This 32-acre cranberry wetland system and wooded area features a half-mile scenic walking trail.

Join Moose Hill Teacher Naturalists as we explore this last remaining active cranberry bog in the Town of Foxboro every Friday. As you slow down and look, our Teacher Naturalists will share with you skills that you can use on your own future nature adventures.

Check out all the dates and mark your calendars. We can’t wait to explore with you!

Spring is coming!

The beginning of March has certainly come in like a lion! In just under two weeks we have seen three major storms – Quinn, Riley, and Skylar – that each packed their own wallop to New England. After a storm of heavy rain and high winds, we dealt with heavy, wet snow, and finally a blizzard. Here at Moose Hill, we are truly ready for Spring to arrive – how about you?

It’s hard to believe that the Spring Equinox arrives on March 20. What we do know is that people will be ready to shake off this end of winter blitz and dive into warmer days and longer sunlight! Need a little inspiration as to what to do? We have you covered – come and take a hike at Moose Hill, breathe in the fresh air, bask in the sunshine and warmth, and enjoy time in the outdoors. Want a little more than just a hike? We have you covered there too – check out our programs and register for something today. What a great way to welcome in the new season!

Maple Sugaring Weekends – March 17, 18 and 25. This popular special event sells out each year so be sure to register an ensure your spot!

Family Programs – night hikes, star gazing, egg hunts and more!

Kids Programs – drop off programs that will get your child out and exploring a number of different themes.

Adult Programs – a number of ways to get out on the sanctuary and explore, plus a Mead making class; who could ask for anything more?

Summer Day Camp – are you already looking ahead to the summer? Want some great options for time spent in the outdoors, making friends, connecting with nature, building experiences? We just bet we have a camp session that your kid(s) would love! Never done camp with us? Join us at an Open House, meet our Camp Director Shawn, and have all your questions answered.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) – The Farm at Moose Hill offers 18 weeks of fresh, organic vegetables. Shares are selling fast so don’t delay on your registration. Curious about our CSA? Join us for an Open House to learn more – you can even register that night.

We look forward to seeing you here soon!