Category Archives: Education

Walking Though Forest

Take a Family Tour of the Metro West Outdoors

As we adjust to new safe, meaningful ways to interact with nature, a new opportunity has bloomed for families in the Metro West area. Family groups of up to ten can now take private, guided tours of Drumlin Farm, Broadmoor, and Habitat Wildlife Sanctuaries.

A Mass Audubon Naturalist (masked and with appropriate social distancing) will lead your group on a two-hour exploration of your sanctuary of choice, guiding you through hands-on investigations of plants and animals, and observing and explaining ecosystem interactions and characteristics. Chose one of the offered themes, or customize one to your group’s interests. Optional activities for children such as scavenger hunts, nature drawing, movement activities, or story creation can also be arranged. Take a break from the screens with a safe, energizing trip through the great outdoors!

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, Natick

An expansive retreat along Indian Brook and the Charles River, Broadmoor is an ever-changing environment teeming with wildlife: dragonflies darting, turtles basking, otters leaving tracks in the mud, and more than 150 species of birds. Easy-to-moderate well-groomed trails lead you through the shade of mature woodlands into open fields and along the edges of streams, ponds, and marshland. 

Themes: The Wonders of the Marsh, Field Mysteries, Into the Woods

Availability: Tuesdays–Fridays, August 4–October 30

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Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, Belmont

Four miles of gentle trails wind through deciduous and evergreen forests, across meadows, and around ponds and vernal pools at Habitat, located just seven miles from downtown Boston. Stop by and say hello to our family of goats on your trip!

Themes: Meadow Investigations, Pond Probe, Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians, Predator or Prey, Fairy Houses & Gnome Homes

Availability: Monday–Friday, August 3–October 16

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Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Lincoln

At Drumlin Farm, you can experience life on a working farm and explore a wildlife sanctuary at the same time. Watch the pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and cows in the farmyard; see how crops are sustainably grown; walk the trails explore field, forest, and wetland habitat; and observe resident owls, hawks, and a fox in the native wildlife exhibit. 

Themes: Farm Chores, Pond Explorations, Habitat Hike

Availability: Monday–Friday, September 14–December 18

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Local Citizen Science Club Builds Enrichment Tools for Wildlife

Nashoba Brooks School’s 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Citizen Science Club has recently made a creative contribution to our resident wildlife in the form of creating and implementing enrichment activities for our resident wildlife. Enrichment activities come in many forms and feature engaging challenges for the animals to complete, often to retrieve food, simulating the mental obstacles animals would need to overcome to earn food in the wild.

The Nashoba Brooks clubs visited the farm for a tour with our Wildlife Care Team and animals to learn more about their lives, enrichment tools, and the process of rehabilitating animals. They then designed their own enrichment tools for the animals at school and brought them in again for testing and feedback, before presenting their final designs to the animals.

Along with a deeper understanding of the animals that they are working with, the process of rehabilitation, and the need for enrichment tools, the students also practiced engineering and technical skills as they moved through the design thinking process.

Many thanks to the students of Nashoba Brooks School, from Drumlin Farm, our Wildlife Care Team, and our resident wildlife!

Child stepping over log

Home-based Activities for Families

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things in our daily lives. For young children, this change in routine can be unsettling and confusing, but creating some predictable structure in the day can provide a sense of safety and security for the whole family. As we all adjust to balancing the many aspects of our world from home, our Drumlin Farm Community Preschool Team would like to share a variety of fun learning activities that you can do with your child(ren) and family which you may find helpful and inspiring. Engage with nature where you can, create some art for your community, design experiments, or find a new recipe to cook together–there’s something for everyone!

Wishing you and your family wellness and health,

Jill Canelli

Drumlin Farm Community Preschool Director

© Emily Haranas

Be a Nature Hero

  • Conduct a bird count of what you can see/hear in your neighborhood. How many of each kind of bird do you observe?  Can you find one new bird each day?  Learn how to identify common birds in Massachusetts at this time of year.
© Patrick Rogers

Think Critically & Get Active

  • First brainstorm a list of sounds (ex: bird songs, wind, water, insect songs, frogs, dogs barking, cars, planes, people’s voices, etc.). Then, listen closely and see how many you can check off and hear on a walk or just outside your door!
  • 3 Changes Game: closely observe your partner, before they leave the room and change three things about their appearance (might be putting their hair up, untieing a shoe, or taking off a sweater). When the partner comes back, try to guess what is different.
  • Mapmaking: make a map of your room, house, or garden. Try to make it as accurate as possible. To take it a step further, hide a treasure somewhere and try to find it with the map!
  • Plan, prepare and cook a meal with your child. Whether your child helps you make that first cup of coffee or you pick a recipe to make together there is so much fun and learning in these everyday activities. Measure ingredients, practice cutting skills, discuss the farm-to-table journey, and enjoy something delicious you made together!
  • Give children the opportunity to help with jobs around the house, a great way to use fine and gross motor skills, and also contribute to meaningful work in the family: sweeping, dusting, folding laundry, and loading the dishwasher, or any outdoor tasks such as raking, collecting sticks or trash in the yard, or weeding also are also great ways to use their muscles. Try making a game out of the task or listen to music while working to keep them engaged!
  • Obstacle Courses: create them inside or in your backyard using cones/yogurt containers for zig-zagging, boxes for climbing through or over, buckets for filling with water, hard-boiled eggs with spoons for balancing, chalk for paths on the driveway–you name it! Use your imagination to create different challenges.
  • Create stacked rock cairns in your yard or garden. Gather a variety of rocks, and stack them in a pile, using a larger, flat stone for the base. Experiment with different shapes and stones and see how high you can stack them.

© Patrick Rogers

Get Creative

  • Make cards, write notes, and draw pictures to mail to friends and family or safely drop them by your neighbors’ house. Now is a great time to start communicating with a pen pal!
  • Bring sketch pads or clipboards with watercolor/crayons/colored pencils outside for nature drawing. Flowers, bugs, bird feeders, and trees all make great inspiration! 
  • Flower Printing/Dying: press flowers and plants between books to flatten and preserve them–they can be used in papermaking or bookmarks!
  • Book Writing: put together your own short story! To make it more fun, pose the story around a question about nature, such as “Why do skunks smell?”  Or “why do bears have a short tail?”
  • Paint rocks to make a rock garden.
  • Make shadow puppets: cut shapes/animals out of black paper and tape them to popsicle sticks or chopsticks. They can be used outside by hanging a sheet or on the ground, or inside with a desk lamp onto a wall.

© Patrick Rogers

Practice Sciences

  • Salt Dough: 2 parts flour, 1 part salt, and 1 part water. Add food coloring to color and create different characters by rolling out and cutting with cookie cutters.  To harden and paint, cook at 250 degrees until hard (about 2 hours).
  • Plant Olympics: beans of any variety work well for this, but for more fun, get different types and try different kinds of races.  Everyone in the family can plant some seeds in dixie cups, cardboard egg cartons, peat pots, or make your own pots out of newspaper. Your Olympic events could include the earliest sprouter, tallest plant, biggest leaves, first to bloom, most productive (how much fruit/flower/veg does it produce?), and more.  Don’t forget to make a chart to keep track of the results/winners. You can even make winning metals (cut out of cereal boxes or other thin cardboard and decorate)!
  • Design Experiments & Collect Data: next time your child has an unanswerable question, prompt them to collect, record, and interpret data. Which toy truck is the fastest? Which room in the house is the biggest? Will this orange sink or float? The only limit is your imagination!

Local Youth-Led Teams Take Climate Justice into their Own Hands

Drumlin Farm Youth Leaders for Climate Justice

On Saturday, November 23, Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm hosted their second annual Youth Leaders for Climate Justice (YLCJ) Summit: a day of learning, community-building, and the beginning of a semester-long climate action project planning process. Teams of high school students from throughout Eastern Massachusetts, many of whom represent environmental science and climate change clubs in their communities, came together to learn more about climate change, social justice, and what they can do to make a difference.

The Summit kicks off the 2019/2020 season of the Youth Leaders for Climate Justice Program at Drumlin Farm, a semester-long civic-action and leadership initiative, empowering and supporting teams of high-school aged students to take action to mitigate climate change and promote climate justice in their communities. The program is part of Mass Audubon’s larger Youth Climate Summit initiative, with seven sanctuaries throughout the state currently organizing similar events.

Climate Change & People

The YLCJ program aims to create and support young leaders who will address the issue of climate change as a human issue, as unfortunately, those who have less resources will be the most affected. Therefore, when talking about climate change, we address it with the knowledge that the communities most at-risk of climate disaster are also the ones who have less time, money, and political power to do something to stop it. YLCJ supports young people–the ones inheriting our warming planet–with the knowledge, skills, and community connections needed to create change and take action in an informed and equitable way.

The Summit

Outgrowing our own facility capabilities, this year’s summit was held at nearby Brandeis University in Waltham, with over 100 participants in attendance including presenters, staff, students, and club advisors from a variety of communities in the Boston and Metrowest area.

The 2019/2020 YLCJ cohort includes teams beyond Drumlin Farm (represented by the blue pin), including Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, English High School in Jamaica Plain, Framingham High School, Mass Audubon Habitat Sanctuary in Belmont, Boston Latin Academy, Montrose School in Medfield, Lowell High School, Concord-Carlisle Regional High School, Waltham High School, Wayland High School, First Parish Church of Groton, and Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary in Worcester.

The busy Summit day was filled with learning and networking opportunities, food featuring Drumlin Farm grown ingredients, and a keynote address from 15th Suffolk District State Representative Nika Elugardo. The day started with a session by David Corbie from Greenovate Boston and Jamele Adams, Brandeis’ Dean of Students, exploring climate justice communications, listening, and team building. Breakout sessions throughout the day allowed students to explore various topics, including Project Communication and Design presented by Drumlin Farm Camp Director, Meghan Haslam, Increasing Biodiversity to Combat Climate Change presented by Meadowscaping for Biodiversity, and a workshop on The Transition to a Renewable Energy Future presented by Tufts and Brandeis University professor Brian Roach. Participants then split into mixed groups of advisors and students from different schools and organizations to draft a “Commitment to Climate Justice Manifesto”, a pact to each other detailing what climate justice means to them, how they will take action, and why.

Students work on drafting their personalized “Commitment to Climate Justice Manifesto” to present to the larger group. Photo Credit: Pearce Kelley

Next Steps: Community Action

The work doesn’t stop here—equipped with the knowledge shared at the summit, students will now embark on the creation and implementation of their own, personalized, semester-long climate justice action project in their community, before meeting back together on April 4 to present their work at the Youth Leaders for Climate Justice Showcase, open to the public. Follow their progress and learn more about the work these inspiring high schoolers are doing with our upcoming series of blogs, written by the Youth Leaders themselves.

If you would like to learn more about the Youth Leaders for Climate Justice program, please email DrumlinFarmYLCJ@massaudubon.org.

The 2019/2020 Youth Leaders for Climate Justice cohort together for a break outdoors during the busy day. Photo Credit: Pearce Kelley

Many thanks to those that helped make this program possible, including Brandeis University for hosting and collaborating on the program, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education After-School and Out of School Time for contributions to much-needed funding, and our donors in-kind Dowse Orchards, Bees Wrap, and Preserve .

Springing Ahead: 5 Signs of Spring on the Farm

Daylight Savings Time arrived on the second morning of our annual Sap-to-Syrup Farmer’s Breakfast. Hearty pancakes topped with real maple syrup alongside Drumlin Farm’s roasted potatoes and sausage were enjoyed in sunny, snowy, and muddy weather throughout the weekend. Thanks to our volunteers, staff, and sponsors that helped make this event possible, including our premiere event sponsor Whole Foods (Sudbury), as well as PEAK Event Services, Karma Coffee (Sudbury), Market Basket (Waltham), Roche Brothers (Sudbury), Donelan’s Supermarket (Lincoln), Stop & Shop (Wayland). Now that we’ve explored and shared the joys of maple sugaring, a traditional end of winter crop, we’re looking forward to the rest of what New England Spring has in store…

1. Spring Lambs & Kids

One of the many special things that makes Drumlin Farm a unique experience is our resident livestock. If you’ve visited recently, you were probably met by the very pregnant sheep and goats still in their thick winter coats. With spring comes the arrival of the newborn lambs and kids, and watching them walk, hop, and play is one of our favorite cornerstone spring activities. Such a favorite that we’ll be celebrating all things fiber and sheep related at Woolapalooza, our annual farm, food, and fiber festival. Visit on March 30th for sheep shearing, sheep dog herding demonstrations, local wool vendors, and a chance to visit the new spring babies!

2. April Vacation Week

February Vacation Week had us looking into the science of snow and winter, but it’s warming up in April! During one day or full week sessions the week of April 15-19, children will explore the thawing ponds for amphibians, take care of the wildlife, prepare and plant the garden, and meet in the kitchen to whip up some tasty treats. April Vacation on Drumlin Farm is always alive with the sounds of laughter and amazement at the new lessons we find.

3. Leafy Spring Vegetables

The spring growing season begins with crispy leafy greens. Bursting with an array of tender head lettuces, herbs, scallions, and salad radishes, we’re excited to start making fresh salad every week. Our spring CSA program allows you to share in the bounty of harvest, and you can pick up Drumlin Farm grown vegetables every week for your own kitchen. As the fields warm, shares will fill out with the first of the season’s carrots, sweet salad turnips, and (weather permitting) sugar snap peas, strawberries, and beets. Taste the difference between store-bought and farm-grown for yourself!

4. The Start of Spring Series Programs

Pencil in Drumlin Farm to your weekly schedule with the arrival of spring Child, Adult/Child Pair, and Family Series programs so you can visit the farm every week! You can spend time with your children in a social, educational environment and explore our habitats and wildlife together with programs like Farm Family, Family Explorations, and Old MacDrumlin’s Farm (families with children ages 2-6). Learn first-hand about “where does my food come from” and experience the farm-to-table process in Drumlin Cooks (ages 9-12), Kids in the Kitchen (ages 6-9), and Cooking Together (families with children ages 3-5).

5. The Return of Vernal Pools & Amphibians

Vernal pools are temporary bodies of water in our forests filled by melting snow and spring rain. Within these muddy, murky waters live a world of life including tadpoles, fairy shrimp, and dragonfly larva that will metamorphose into adults before the pools dry up. Come see for yourself in Polliwogs & Frogs (families with children age 2), Tadpoles & Toads (families with children ages 3-5), and Afternoon Kids Club (ages 4-6).

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:

Edie Sisson’s Ongoing Impact During 50 Years at Drumlin Farm

Edie Sisson is a Drumlin Farm superstar. She has been teaching at Drumlin Farm for fifty years, and during that time has opened countless people’s eyes to the wonders of nature. She believes in living sustainably, and her household includes chickens, geese, and honeybees, and for many years she provided many thousands of fertilized eggs for incubation to schoolchildren across the state, while her late husband, Tom, served as Drumlin Farm’s beekeeper. She also believes, passionately, in social justice and in the power of an individual to make a difference.

In 2007, she founded the Drumlin Farm Outreach and Assistance Resources (DOAR) program to provide scholarship support to make Drumlin Farm available to schools, families, and others for whom the financial barriers were too high, as well as to increase the diversity and accessibility of our community. Thanks to the DOAR Program, many people have been able to experience the magic of nature and the farm first hand. Seeing wildlife up close, getting your hands dirty in the garden caring for plants, and observing the interconnectedness of the natural world are lessons that last a life time and have inspired many, thanks to Edie’s push for inclusiveness.

On November 20, Drumlin colleagues past and present joined with Edie’s family to celebrate both her 90th birthday and her 50th anniversary at Drumlin Farm with a lunch in her honor.  Just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it was a perfect opportunity to reflect on all that Edie has brought to our community and give thanks for her!

If you would like to make a gift to the DOAR Fund to help support socially diverse programs at Drumlin Farm, please contact Polly Reeve (preeve@massaudubon.org, 781-259-2239).

Pumpkin Waffles, Made by Cooking Together

The leaves are sparse, the chilling air has set in, and the Drumlin Farm Cooking Together class is preparing to make Drumlin Farm’s seasonal favorite, pumpkin waffles with homemade butter and apple cider syrup. Every week, this class of 3-5 year olds and their parents learn, and enjoy, a new recipe together. Perfect for a fall weekend breakfast, this simple recipe uses a combination of seasonal spices and homemade ingredients to create a meal that you’ll keep coming back for seconds…and thirds…and maybe fourths if there’s enough!

Pumpkin Waffles

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine. If you’d like to follow along the “Cooking Together” way, feel free to sing a “mixing, mixing, mixing” song along with it.

    Mixing, mixing, mixing!

  3. In a separate large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix together until smooth.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until combined. 
  5. Spray waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, scoop mixture onto iron, and cook about 3-4 minutes. 

 

While the waffles were cooking, families gathered around circle time to take turns  continuously shaking 1 cup of heavy cream in a mason jar until a solid formed, and we had homemade butter. Our Teachers prepped the serving station with another Drumlin Farm recipe favorite–apple cider syrup.

Apple Cider Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on how tart you like it)
  • 2 table spoons butter
  1. To make the syrup, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the apple cider and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil.
  3. Boil until the syrup thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted. Serve warm.

Anxiously awaiting the toppings!

And voila! When the waffles are done cooking you’ll have a deliciously cozy fall favorite. Adorn your own waffle station with the favorite fixings of your choosing and enjoy a breakfast with family, made with love.

Take it from our class, you’re going to want to make enough for second–and thirds! Registration is now open for our next series of Cooking Together classes, starting January 22!

Lining back up for another helping!

The best breakfasts are the ones eaten together with a smile!

 

Back to School with Drumlin Farm

Pencils? Check.

Binders? Check.

Index Cards? Check.

Screech Owl? ….Check!

Education is at the heart of Mass Audubon and Drumlin Farm’s mission to protect the nature of Massachusetts and inspire the next generation. Unique in its position as both a working farm and a wildlife sanctuary, Drumlin Farm has delivered environmental education programs to hundreds of thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students in Massachusetts. Our teacher naturalists work with students to help them develop an appreciation for native plants and animals and their habitats, as well as the relationships of these ecological communities to our agricultural practices. Now that summer camp season is over, it’s time to get back to school and apply that love for the outdoors and natural life to the classroom.

Drumlin Farm Comes to Your School

Drumlin Farm’s Outreach Program brings our teacher naturalists to your school classroom, or guided exploration of your schoolyard or natural areas nearby. Programs may include bringing native wildlife into the classroom or guided exploration of nature areas near your school. Keeping a class’s attention is a breeze when there’s a broad-winged hawk on the presenter’s arm!

Visit Drumlin Farm with Your Class

Our on-site programs offer opportunities to investigate the ecology of New England habitats and the adaptations of animals and plants that live here. During guided explorations of Drumlin Farm’s forests, wetlands, and fields, students ask questions, investigate, collect data, and share conclusions. While students are out exploring, they have opportunities to use scientific tools, make observations, and experience real science in the field.

Homeschool Programs

Maybe back-to-school for you means back to the home classroom. We coordinate customizable Homeschool Programs for our local homeschoolers to encourage children to interact with the environment through nature exploration and science-based learning, as well as with each other through group building and games.

Afterschool Programs

End the school day with dynamic and inquiry-based engagement at our afterschool enrichment experiences. Students learn about field science, local habitats, and wildlife. Individual and series programs are available and may include nature-based crafts, games, literature, storytelling, journaling, and other activities. Students won’t want to leave school when ending with these fun activities!

Our 4-H Programs also provides an opportunity for kids to become more healthy, connected, balanced, and empowered through hands-on activities with farm and nature themes. 4-H participants practice public speaking, participate in service projects, and cook healthy snacks with farm fresh ingredients.

Professional Development for Teachers

Drumlin Farm offers professional development opportunities for teachers at your site and at our wildlife sanctuary. Workshops are designed to give teachers the tools they need in the classroom to create and lead their own inspiring lessons. In our workshops, we use local habitats and native species to explore ecological principals, cross-cutting science concepts, and core earth and life science ideas, as well as how to teach these lessons in the classroom through a hands-on, and inquiry driven approach. We are a DOE-approved PDP provider and offer year-round science education courses to classroom teachers.

 

We invite you to get involved and join the best part of back-to-school. Balance out the homework loads with hands-on experiences in the settings student learn about in science class. The 2018-19 school year is gearing up to be the best year yet with Drumlin Farm!

 

ELC Update: April & May

As we zoom towards our June 9th grand opening, work on the Environmental Learning Center has been progressing with leaps and bounds! It won’t be long until we are able to welcome the public into our wonderful new learning space, but in the meantime, here’s a peek at what’s been happening.

April began with an auspicious beginning, when we discovered a very rusty but hopefully still luck-filled horseshoe deep in the ground beneath what will become our main garden area. We are definitely saving it to hang in the new building!

The highlight of the interior work was definitely the arrival of our millwork – stunning birch cabinetry, desktops, and countertops that were installed throughout the building. We love our benches!

All that shelf space made our ed staff’s eyes light up!

Our favorite feature is definitely the aquarium tanks that line the main greeting area. Look for turtles, tadpoles, or fish coming to this location soon!

As the painting began, the space took on a warm glow that really made it much easier to imagine the finished rooms. Who wouldn’t be inspired to collaborate in a warm rusty red great room like this?

Our FurnCom team has gone above and beyond in finding the perfect furnishings to bring the space to life, as evidenced by the beautiful organic coat rack that feels like art.

The little surprises that pop up over the course of a long project definitely make it all worthwhile. Imagine our delight when the final polishing of the concrete floor revealed the perfect natural feature for space devoted to environmental education? The concrete contractor offered to fill it in, but of course we immediately said this feature must stay with us forever!

May brought us to the major outdoor components of the project, beginning with construction of the path that will lead visitors from parking lot to the new building.

We all got a lesson in how to build a rain garden from the ground up. This beautiful feature in front of the building will channel storm water runoff from the driveway into a channel that allows it to serve native wetland plants as well as to recharge the groundwater.

On the roof, our array of 119 solar panels sprung up seemingly overnight, finishing off our most important feature of net-zero capability.

Even though our project is so focused on the future of Drumlin Farm education, there was still a small sense of loss when it was time to tear down the old Ed Building, home to so much discovery and learning over 60 years. Our staff gathered to say our goodbyes with a bittersweet cheer and thoughts of all the good work that is yet to come.

Within a few days, our thoughts were firmly toward the future as the foundation for our new outdoor classroom began to take shape. Sitting on four concrete piers, the Bluebird Pavilion will be larger than the entire previous Ed Building!

The structure for the pavilion arrived in one huge shipment of enormous beams, designed to hold up a roof that can shelter 10 picnic tables for gathering campers and school groups.

The aluminum knifeplate joints that will connect the pavilion beams to the foundation piers look like modern art – almost too beautiful to use!

And a day later – it’s almost done! Our Chapman crew is working double time to get the pavilion up in time for summer camp.

Remember those knifeplate joints? Just as beautiful when they are fulfilling their function!

As we enter the final weeks of the project, our staff is getting more and more excited to move in and start working in their new home. We can’t wait to see all the innovation yet to come.

Look for final photos of the finished Environmental Learning Center coming very soon! Our grand opening celebration will be held from 1:30-3:00 pm on June 9th, where we will be offering tours of the building as well as a variety of free educational programs to showcase the work that the building enables. We hope to see you there! If you would like to learn more about the project, or get involved yourself, we invite you to check out our project website at massaudubon.org/ELC.

 

Renata Pomponi

Sanctuary Director