Category Archives: Program Highlights

to highlight various programs or themes

November Happenings at Moose Hill

November has arrived and we truly begin to see the difference in the amount of daylight – it begins to feel like we head out for work in the dark and we head back home in the dark. It’s easy to want to curl up with a good book and a warm blanket and just nestle in, but now is such a great time to get out and explore! Head outside on a crisp November morning and see the beauty of the frost on the ground, the lifting of the mist through the forest and the low angle of the sun just popping through the trees. Take a deep breathe and enjoy the beauty of the nature all around you. Need a little inspiration…

…Here are a few of the programs and happenings this November 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! Programs begin at either 1:30 pm or 4:00 pm!

NEW program: 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!

November 3: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! This program is ongoing so stop in anytime between 7 and 9 pm. We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

November 4: Bird Banding – learn about the history of bird banding, the various bird banding stations within Mass Audubon, and about the saw-whet owl banding at Moose Hill. We will take a hike to our banding station and if conditions are right, we might even have a chance to see the process. This is an adult program.

November 11: Forest Regeneration – With global temperatures warming each year due to natural, and some not so natural processes, how are the native trees-shrubs-vines-herbaceous plants responding? Teacher Naturalist Michael leads a hands-on afternoon of observation and inquiry.

November 14: 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!

November 19 – 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!

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! 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 -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 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!

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!

Wildlife Habitat Management Happening Here!

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary has received a Wildlife Habitat Management Grant through the MA Department of Fish and Game (Mass Wildlife) to increase upland habitat diversity and improve early successional habitat for plants and wildlife.

Work has begun – how will this affect your visit?
The fields and forest edges along Billings Loop will begin to change over the next few months. You may notice a number of marked trees and other plants. We will be removing invasive trees and shrubs and thinning some forest edges to increase open field, shrubland, and young forest habitats, facilitate shrub and forest understory regeneration, and to support a healthy and diverse natural landscape within our sanctuary.

We may have to temporary re-route trails as contractors and staff work in these areas. Please always check in at the front desk for updates before you head out, or Like us on Facebook to receive updates.

Want to know more?
Join us for a presentation by Mass Audubon regional scientist Gene Albanese on either Thursday, March 1 or Thursday, March 15.

Join sanctuary director Karen Stein for a walk to the fields to learn more about the work that has been done on Sunday, March 11 or Friday, March 16.

First Quarter Moon and a Star Gazing Night: September 2017

Thank you to Craig Austin for this Star Gazing post. Craig is often present during Moose Hill’s Star Gazing Nights, along with a few members of the Astronomical Society of Southern New England, and other local amateur astronomers. Moose Hill is grateful to everyone who volunteers their time to share their scopes and knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning more and seeing the night sky from our open field.

It was a busy Friday night at the end of September at Moose Hill.  A dozen or so observers were setup and about fifty people came out to the field to see through the telescopes and ask questions on what they were seeing.

As a warm up to the event, those who arrived early enough were able to glimpse Saturn before it went behind the trees. However, the prime feature of the night was the moon, since…well…it was the biggest and brightest object out there!

First Quarter Moon

The moon was a few days past the half-moon phase (also called 1st Quarter Moon).  When the  moon is this bright it’s harder to see faint objects like galaxies and nebula. Some of the observers with larger scopes managed to show double stars like Gamma Cygni (a blue and gold pair) and globular clusters (one is in Hercules).  I briefly had the fuzzy oval of the Andromeda Galaxy before I lost it again.

Andromeda Galaxy, ultraviolet image by NASA

But, I did get to see the Pleiades, a tight group of stars that looks like a really small dipper.

I fielded several questions about the moon.  One that came up several times was about why different regions of the moon were ‘light’ colored and ‘dark’ colored.

Generally, the light colored regions typically have the mountains and craters, and the dark colored regions are plains that are often referred to as ‘mares’ or seas – there is no water on the moon so these aren’t actually seas. So what are these regions made out of?

If you answered:  Cheese/Green Cheese – Sorry – there aren’t enough space cows that could make enough milk to make enough cheese to create the moon.

The better answer is that each region is made of a different kind of rock.

moon map

The light areas are mostly made of a silicon (sand-like) material called regolith. It is a loose material similar to a dry riverbed with different sized bits from particles of dust to small boulders.

The darker regions are made of cooled lava flows called basalt. At one time, the moon was a lot warmer in its interior and was bombarded constantly by meteorites. Some impacts caused the liquid mantle inside to come out, much like when you bleed when you are cut.

Thanks for reading!  Now if you could pass the cheese… please!

The next Star Gazing Night is Saturday, November 18 from 7-9pm. Check before you come – if there are clouds or rain, we will cancel – by calling 781-784-5691, x8103 after 6pm to see if the program is running!