Category Archives: Camp

A Note from Renata Pomponi, Sanctuary Director

The daily news doesn’t often focus on science, but for a day or two last November, scientific exploration took over the headlines as the InSight Lander arrived on Mars. The first mission designed to probe the interior of another planet, InSight traveled more than 300 million miles over seven months. Watching the livestream of those final moments, my family and I found ourselves cheering along with the engineers in the control room as they celebrated their success.

This type of “Big Science” victory is one that my kids and I will remember for a lifetime. But just as important are the “small science” moments that happen every day: a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis or a snowflake crystalizing on a mitten. When we stop to look, we start to wonder. That wonder can begin as a sense of amazement at the “magic” of nature, especially in our youngest visitors, but it can lead to more when presented as a question: I wonder how that caterpillar transformed into an entirely different creature? I wonder why that snowflake formed so differently from the one next to it?

Major scientific breakthroughs may occur only a few times in our lives, but the natural world offers up daily opportunities for us to question, to think, and to learn. What’s more, having a formal scientific degree or engineering background isn’t a prerequisite, only your own curiosity. You don’t even have to know the “right” answer to your or your child’s question; their asking is the most important part. We hope that the inquiries that start here at Drumlin Farm, whether you experience them on your own or alongside our educators, will bring discovery and delight, along with inspiration for all of us to become strong environmental stewards.

Wishing you a year of small-science wonders,

Renata Pomponi
Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director

April-September 2019 Program & Events

Our new programs and events catalog for April-September 2019 has arrived, filled with new programs to get you and your family and friends outside exploring. Highlights include:

Meet Our New Camp Director, Meghan Haslam!

We are very pleased to announce that Drumlin Farm Camp has a new Camp Director! Meghan Haslam comes to us with environmental education and camp experience from all over the world and we’re thrilled that she will be joining Zach D’Arbeloff in leading our camp and teen programs here at Drumlin Farm. Her predecessor, Becky Gilles, is now the Camp Director at Mass Audubon’s overnight camp Wildwood.

Meghan began her career in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, then went on to found and direct the 4 Walls Project, a housing improvement organization. While continuing to live and work in Central America, she managed a range of community and educational programs—including three years as Program Director at Mountain & Sea Spirit Outdoor Adventures School in Tatumbla, Honduras. She then returned to the US to become Director of the 100 Elk Outdoor Center in Buena Vista, Colorado.

Most recently, Meghan oversaw outdoor education and character development programs for young people and adults at North Carolina Outward Bound School as the Program Director of their Table Rock Base Camp in Jonas Ridge, North Carolina.

Get to know Meghan and the adventures that lead her to Drumlin Farm with us…

Meghan hiking the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina.

Q: Did you go to camp when you were younger?

A: Yes I did! I attended day camp at Camp Lincoln in NH for years, then an overnight camp in Maine, followed by 8 years as first a camper, then a counselor, at Adventure Unlimited in Buena Vista, CO. I later returned to this beautiful spot in the Rockies to direct school, youth, and corporate programs for the 100 Elk Outdoor Center.

Q: How did your previous experiences shape your interests today?

A: I’ve had the privilege of exploring the outdoors both professionally and personally, and each environment and culture has taught me new perspectives and refreshed my sense of wonder. I feel like my happiest, best self when I am outdoors. Two major experiences that have informed my development and interests today were going to camp and being a counselor when I was a teenager through college, and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. I am still deeply connected to those communities, and they have propelled my respective interests in outdoor experiences and helping people, whether abroad or in the US.

Meghan working on housing improvement projects with 4 Walls in Nicaragua.

Q: You’ve had professional and environmental experiences all over the world, how do those compare with the Lincoln area and community?

A: Every ecosystem and its habitats, and each set of culture, language, traditions, etc. shapes a place and its character. I am just getting to know Lincoln and the Drumlin Farm, and greater Mass Audubon communities, but new places and people are always exciting to me. One of the things which immediately drew me to Drumlin Farm was the idea of connecting people and nature through outdoor experiences, and helping people understand the relationship between our food production and natural habitats. My enthusiasm about Drumlin Farm sky-rocketed when I was getting to know several staff members while visiting. I asked them to describe Drumlin in three words or fewer, and every person responded with the word “community”. Other words focused on teaching and discovery, as well as the staff’s commitment to raising awareness of climate change. All of those things sounded fantastic, but the strong sense of community especially spoke to me.

I discovered the importance of community when, at the end of my first year in Peace Corps, I had to evacuate my site in a rural Nicaraguan town due to heavy rains and flooding. I wanted nothing more than to return to my community and help out. It was a pivotal moment which led me to start a community-based housing improvement project that grew into a much larger initiative bringing volunteers from all over the world to connect with families and build homes. Over the years of working outdoors, the inextricable links between nature and communities have become ever clearer. I left my first visit at Drumlin Farm with the understanding that its mission was to develop connections between communities and their environments, and that felt like an ideal fit for me.

Meghan teaching students in Honduras.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your first summer as the Drumlin Farm Camp Director?

A: I found my voice and self-confidence as a young person at camp. Now, my favorite aspect of camp is supporting both campers and staff as they learn and grow. It is a marvelous opportunity to watch and help young people blossom into their best selves through both challenges and having fun. I’m excited to learn new lessons about the farm, wildlife, and this particular set of habitats, and to share those with our campers. Helping them be happy, healthy, and inspired is a really cool job to have.

Hiking amongst giant jungle ferns.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

A: I enjoy being outside with my big, fluffy dog and my partner–whether on a beach, in the woods, on a mountain, or just around town. I spend time hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and skiing whenever possible. Reading, photography, writing, and speaking Spanish also bring me great joy. I work with two international organizations, the 4 Walls Project, the home improvement initiative in Nicaragua, and a girls’ scholarship program, One New Education (ONE), and visit my Peace Corps town on a regular basis via both of these projects. I love traveling, exploring new places and cultures, and bringing people with me to experience the adventure.

Learn more and register for Drumlin Farm Summer Camps, at Drumlin Farm or Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, today! We can’t wait to see you back in the outdoors this summer.

New Adventures Await at Assabet River Camp

2018 is gearing up to be the best summer ever! We are excited to announce new programmatic additions to Assabet River Camp that continue to make it a special and unique place for new and returning campers to explore nature, and learn survival skills they can use for life! All of our camps are now 5 days, Monday–Friday (with the exception of July 4th week), perfect for working parents and campers that want more to explore! Drumlin Farm Camp began our program at Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge in 2012, where campers could develop a connection with nature and learn about the complicated history behind the land we live on. With new themes and activities, it’s shaping up to be an amazing year at Assabet River Camp!

Practice makes perfect!

The Archery Range is Open!

Notch your arrows and draw your bows, because archery is coming to Assabet River! Our archery range is brand new for 2018 and is ready for action. Learn how to shoot an arrow and why archery is an important human tradition that goes back thousands of years. Hone your skills on the range and learn to successfully shoot a bullseye!

The best way to explore the river is by canoe!

Paddle Puffer Pond Each Week!

New for 2018, we’ll get out in our canoes every week of camp! Younger campers will learn paddle skills and the basics of freshwater ecology, while older campers will practice advanced maneuvers and pond-by-canoe. The scenic Assabet River is perfect for relaxing exploration and inquisitive adventures.

Fishing on Assabet River

Cast a Line from the Fishing Dock!

We’re bringing out the rods every week of the summer! Head out to the fishing platform on Puffer Pond with our knowledgeable counselors and do your best to hook one of the many species of fish that inhabit the pond (all fishing is catch and release).

Join us at Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge for an amazing summer of fishing, archery, canoeing, and exploring the incredible 2,200 acre refuge. Learn from conservation biologists, meet live animals, and discover hidden worlds in the woods. Register today!

Meet a Camp Counselor: Camy Olia

Name: Camy Olia

Age: 25

Entering 7th year as a Drumlin Farm Camp Counselor 

 

How did your relationship with Drumlin Farm start and how did you become a camp counselor?

I began coming to Drumlin Farm when I was around eleven years old. My grandparents had introduced me to bird watching so they brought me to Drumlin Farm. I loved watching the bluebirds fly over Boyce Field and the Drumlin. Their wings shimmered a spectacular shade from the reflection of the sun.

I became a camp counselor at Drumlin Farm because I had grown to love nature and remembered the few times that I visited when I was younger. Prior to Drumlin Farm, I was a visitor education volunteer at the New England Aquarium and had worked nearby at The Food Project.

We wouldn’t have Summer Camps without Drumlin Farm Campers! What’s your favorite part of working with the campers? 

My favorite part of working with middle school campers is that they understand that they can make a difference in their community and environment. A lot of campers end up educating their parents about sustainable farming practices and how eating local can reduce their carbon footprint. I also love building a sense of community among the campers. We do a lot of team building activities for the first few days of camp so that campers feel a connection to each other at both the individual and communal level.

Last summer, I created a lesson about the hidden animal parts that can be found in common foods, such as gelatin in candy. I bought some groceries and had campers try to figure out which ingredients were derived from animals. Campers were both fascinated and shocked by the lesson.

Another memorable experience happened while teaching a first grader how to figure out the amount of woven rectangular spaces there were between two fence posts. We walked along the fence together and I showed him how we can use multiplication to find the answer. I knew that I had made a lasting impression because he joined me and followed my schedule for the rest of the day.

Camy with campers walking in a funky chicken parade

Have you had any notable wildlife or nature interactions from your time at camp?

One of my favorite memories was watching a cicada killer paralyze a cicada near the Drumlin. It was interesting to see such a huge bug become incapacitated by an enormous wasp.

I also love looking at the stars during the overnight camps. Once I was scared by a deer in the middle of the night; all my campers were asleep and a shadow slowly moved towards me. As soon as the deer saw me, she made a sneeze like sound and bolted away. It was both starling and fascinating, seeing the deer in it’s natural habitat in the evening was breathtaking.

What are you looking forward to most for summer 2018?

I am looking forward to harvesting vegetables for the family night farm stand. I always love watching the campers experience the whole process–from harvesting, to washing, to sign making, and finally selling the vegetables. Field to farm stand to table!

Three cheers for garlic!

What don’t a lot of people know about being a camp counselor?

Drumlin farm is more than just a wildlife sanctuary for animals: it’s also a sanctuary for people to express themselves openly in an experiential learning environment!

 

Summer camp 2018 is starting soon but there’s still time to sign up! If you’ve like to meet Camy and the rest of our amazing camp staff, learn about and register for a variety of camp programs here.

New Adventurer Trips for Summer 2018

Looking for a New England adventure this summer? Drumlin Farm Camp has added new trips to our Adventurer Camps! The Adventurer Programs are a great introduction to outdoor trip and travel programs, for middle schoolers entering 7th and 8th grade. They’ll enjoy scenic hikes, days on the beach, swimming holes, quiet paddles, and plenty of fun around the campsite. Campers make great new friends while discovering a new part of New England, making summer 2018 one to remember!

One to two weeks of nonstop adventure: spend the first week of camp getting to know each other on day trips to places like Purgatory Chasm, Halibut Point, and Mount Wachusett, then take off on a 5-day overnight adventure the second week! One week trips are also available where we’ll just focus on the 5-day overnight.

Adventurers hiking the white mountains.

Two-week Sessions

June 25-July 6

  • Backpack the White Mountains: Hike from hut to hut along the slopes of Mount Washington! This year, the Adventurers will head to the Lake of the Clouds and Mizpah huts and set their sights on the highest point in New England. Enjoy luxurious back-country camping as you sleep and eat in AMC Huts.

July 9-20

  • Hike Southern Vermont: We’re heading back to Vermont! Explore the southern part of Green Mountain National Forest. We’ll hike mountains, search for waterfalls, and relax at the end of the day with a dip in the pond at our home-away-from-home, Woodford State Park.

July 23-August 3

  • Farming the Connecticut River Valley: Believe it or not, there’s more to farming than Drumlin Farm! This very special new trip heads to the border of New Hampshire and Vermont, where we’ll get a closer look at different kinds of New England farming. Visit Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company in Woodstock, Vermont and learn about the process of cheese making from cow to wheel. Take a short hike up Mount Cardigan for panorama views of New Hampshire and Vermont, and head north to the Farm at Wood’s Hill to discover the secrets behind one of our local farm-to-table restaurants!

Adventurers exploring the coast.

One Week Sessions

August 6-10

  • Exploring Coastal Rhode Island: This brand new trip takes us down the western half of Narraganset Bay and right to picturesque Port Judith. We’ll spend some time on the beach, get muddy digging for clams at low tide, learn about the Rhode Island Audubon Society, and more! Every day will be a different adventure.
  • Hike the Berkshires: Due to popular demand, we’ve added a second trip to the Berkshires! This trip focuses on hiking some of the region’s most famous peaks. Summit Pine Cobble Mountain and Mount Lenox before setting your sights on the highest peak in Massachusetts: Mount Greylock. Relax each afternoon in the river at the campground and get ready for the next day’s adventure.

With so much opportunity, the last thing you’ll want to do this summer is stay indoors! Join Drumlin Farm Camps for outdoor, educational, fun activities throughout the state and New England. Make 2018 a summer to remember!

Farewell and Congratulations to Camp Director Becky Gilles

Drumlin Farm has served as a launching point for many careers within the Mass Audubon statewide system, and it is with bittersweet pride that we announce our latest fledgling to leave the Drumlin Farm nest! Becky Gilles has served as Drumlin Farm’s Camp Director for the past twelve years, bringing her unique combination of professionalism and joy as a valued member of the Drumlin Farm education team. We are pleased to announce her promotion to her new position as Director at Mass Audubon’s overnight camp Wildwood.

Becky Gilles and Drumlin Farm Assistant Camp Director Zach D’Arbeloff talk to prospective campers at this past Woolapalooza.

For those that know Becky, she is as passionate about getting youth out birding and learning about the environment as she is about getting kids to camp! During her tenure, she and her team have developed bird watching clubs and trips for youth, teen-focused initiatives including stewardship and leadership clubs, and on-site 4-H Clubs. Under Becky’s leadership, the impact of Drumlin Farm Summer Camp has grown tremendously—campership has more than doubled and hundreds of young adults have developed their skills as environmental educators as members of her camp staff. When Drumlin Farm outgrew its on-site location, Becky built partnerships with local conservation organizations to design and operate two specialty summer camp that serve new audiences while maintaining the same high quality programming and nature camp flair, at Assabet River and Wolbach Farm, in Sudbury. We are excited to see these programs continue to grow from the firm foundation that Becky established. Jennifer Feller, Drumlin Farm’s Education Manager, will serve as Interim Camp Director, leading a record number of camp counselors who will be returning to Drumlin Farm this summer to keep our traditions strong.

As Becky takes on the challenges of Mass Audubon’s overnight camp, we are excited to see the inspiration she will bring to help campers explore the outdoors and make friends while gaining a greater respect for nature as well as our role in protecting it. We are confident Becky will make a great addition to the Wildwood team and continue her role as a hardworking and innovative Camp Director. Please join us in congratulating Becky on her promotion and wishing her the best of luck in her new position!