You can now charge your car at your next visit to Drumlin Farm with one of our new electric vehicle charging stations.
As part of an ongoing statewide initiative at Mass Audubon to decrease carbon emissions and increase access to greener transportation options for our communities, Drumlin Farm, PowerOptions, and Eversource, collaborated on the new installation.
One of the stations was donated by the nonprofit PowerOptions, New England’s largest energy buying consortium. Eversource paid for and coordinated the infrastructure improvements needed to power the stations and installation was done by Horizon Energy. Each EVC station is capable of charging two cars, providing power for up to four vehicles at a time. Through the Chargepoint app, electric vehicle owners can set up charging at the stations through their phones.
“Drumlin Farm is proud to be making a difference in providing education and motivation for a healthier and sustainable world,” says Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi. “With programs that reach more than 140,000 children and adults each year, we are excited about the opportunity to provide meaningful engagement and positive solutions around climate change, the critical environmental issue of our time. We are grateful for the donation from PowerOptions and the infrastructure support from Eversource to help us reach our goal of reducing our own carbon footprint and providing opportunities for our visitors to ‘drive green’ on their trips to the farm.”
In recent years, the transportation sector has surpassed power plants as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the US. Unlike traditional vehicles, electric vehicles do not release any exhaust emissions when driven. This means that they not only reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, they also eliminate dangerous air pollution that causes smog and other health and ecological risks. Check out Mass Audubon’s recent blog on how to green your transportation for more on how you can get involved.
Interested in learning more about climate change and how Mass Audubon is working with communities to combat it? Find more information here.
By Train: We’re a short walk from the Lincoln MBTA train station on the Fitchburg line. Follow the town trails from the station to the farm, and stop for pizza or a coffee on your way back! Take advantage of the $10 weekend MBTA pass for a weekend beyond-your-backyard adventure.
By Bike/Walking Trail: Lincoln boasts a fabulous network of walking and biking trails that run through the town’s beautiful sights and vistas, connecting greenways and natural areas. What’s better–Drumlin Farm is conveniently located along the paths on Lincoln and Codman Road. Get your steps in for the day by walking in, or park your bike at our bike rack.
By Car: Take advantage of the 4 newly installed electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot. Charge your car while exploring the property and return to a full battery at the end of the visit.
1. Exploring by Hayride
There’s no better way to cover the trails and explore the farm loop than by sitting on a hay bale, traveling by tractor hayride. With the sun shining down and the crisp autumn air around you, this fall-classic is a nostalgic thrill you can’t find everywhere. Grab your tickets at admissions, hop aboard outside of the Red Barn, and enjoy! Hayrides run on Saturday and Sunday until Thanksgiving weekend.
2. Shopping the Farmstand
Crisp leafy greens, squashes and gourds, and a variety of seasonal fall-favorites can be found at the farmstand by admissions. Drumlin Farm-raised meats, yarn made from our sheep’s fleece, honey from hives on site, and eggs from our chickens can also be purchased. Take a little farm home with you by making delicious fall recipes using local, sustainable ingredients!
3. Witnessing the Changing Season
What makes a wildlife sanctuary unique from other outdoor trails you might visit? Our property is managed with wildlife and habitat health in mind, which makes trail explorations teem with natural encounters. Watch and listen for migrating fall birds in the meadows and forests and catch glimpses of scampering critters beefing up before the winter. Perhaps you’ll see our resident family of wild turkeys that roam the property, or take a walk up the drumlin–one of the highest point in the greater Boston area–where you can take in a beautiful vista and see the outline of Mount Wachusett, over 30 miles away, on a clear day.
4. Visiting Native Wildlife & Livestock
Meet the animals that make up our New England landscapes and history! Sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and cows teach visitors about the ins and outs of farming and our historic connection to these important animals. Bird Hill (hosting owls, hawks, pheasants, and more) and the New England Wildlife Exhibit (with rabbits, snakes, foxes, and more) feature our animal ambassadors that teach us about native animals and their role in creating healthy ecosystems in Massachusetts.
5. Dropping-in for Interactive Activities
You could meet a raptor, mammal, or reptile; see a pony grooming demonstration; feel real pelts and furs; and more at our drop-in activities, included with the price of admission. Teacher Naturalists stationed around the farm engage visitors in hands-on learning opportunities to answer all your farm and nature questions and introduce you to a side of nature you may not have seen. Drop-in activities take place at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, and 2:30 pm on weekends.
Bonus: Tales of the Night, Our Spookiest Farm Festivity
If you want a classic fall experience, there’s really nothing quite like a spooky adventure through the farm and a haunted hayride. If you’re free Friday or Saturday, October 25 and 26, plan a night at our annual special event, Tales of the Night. Travel through candle-lit paths and jack-o-lanterns, meet animals and story book characters, and try some witches brew and ghoulish treats! Tickets sell out for this popular event, so early registration is recommended.
After a long winter, it’s time to get back in the field, with thousands of plantings and a few new additions!
Amazingly, April brought us 6.5 inches of rain, falling over 20 of its 30 cloudy days, with an average temperature of 52 degrees. It’s been challenging just moving around the sodden fields and working with the saturated soil. We’re identifying with the turtle, working within our shells of layered shirts and sweaters, all wrapped-up in our mud-covered rain gear; turtling along, we seeded the first greens and carrots of the season on March 28 and have been seeding and transplanting every week since. We’ve harvested over-wintered spinach for Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge, and greens and radish for our first delivery of the season to the Cambridge and Somerville schools.
Despite limitations of weather, all spring planting projects are on schedule thanks to the dedicated work of this year’s Crops Team. During the week of April 15, we pulled back the straw and weeded the half-acre of strawberries we’ll be picking this summer season, then planted 4,000 new strawberry plants for next year’s harvest.
Do you know the natural indicator to plant potatoes? In early April, 2,500 pounds of potatoes arrived from Maine. We hauled them into the barn loft and arranged them on trays in front of the windows for green-sprouting. By the last week of April, they had sprouted leaves. We cut up the largest potatoes to multiply the seed and planted them on May 1, just a few days after we noticed the first blooming dandelions of the season—our signal to plant.
We were thrilled to learn of the town’s approval for our plan to construct a hoop house by Boyce Field to provide year-round, protected growing space. The potential for increased program offerings and more veggie sales with the help of the structure will be a boon to the farm. Thanks to our staff and our neighbors for working together to identify a suitable location for the structure; construction is scheduled to begin at the end of the month.
By the end of last week had about 40% of the onion crops (24,000 plants!) in the ground–only 33,000 plants to go! Thanks to volunteersAnne, Sheila, Francesca, Sandra, and Anna for seeding the majority of what’s in the greenhouse—especially those onions, where they do not scatter seed, but rather place one seed at a time through a grid, 650 seeds per tray, 88 trays–57,200 plants! We’ve also been using volunteer Fred’s new cold frame to harden-off those onions before moving them to the field. Fred’s design is sturdier than previous iterations and the shed roof design allows us to roll and perch the plastic on the high end, simplifying the process of covering and uncovering the plants on cold or rainy nights—of which there have been too many!
If you haven’t secured your spot in the spring CSA, there’s still time, and we have a few slots still open. If you’re looking to learn more about farm-to-table practices and cooking, we have upcoming programs for adults, teens, and families, where you can get hands-on in the field and kitchen!
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).
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
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:
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
A big welcome to the newest member of the Drumlin Farm animal ambassador family, a female red fox! Like our resident male fox, she was found as an orphaned kit (young fox) in Illinois. Upon her discovery in February 2018 she weighed only 1.5 pounds. During her rehabilitation, she became habituated to her human caregivers and was deemed non-releasable, unable to survive on her own in the wild. She’s grown a lot since then and is adjusting well to the East Coast move, now weighing in at a healthy 10 pounds.
The new female fox joins the ranks of the many honorable animal ambassadors that call Drumlin Farm home and work to connect our visitors to the natural world in unique ways. Many Drumlin Farm visitors have never even seen a fox in person before, and know surprisingly little about these sly canines. Next time you visit, we invite you stop by the New England Wildlife Exhibit to see them up close. You can distinguish the female from the male by the relatively smaller white tip on her tail. As foxes are mostly nocturnal, the pair are often most active during early in the morning and at night, but our two foxes can regularly be seen exploring the exhibit, observing the cows in the pasture, or napping throughout the day. Check out the Fox Cam in our exhibit space to see the night-vision camera collecting data on their after-hours behavior. You can also explore inside our newly opened Fox Den viewing area, with its plexiglass window for a clear look inside the enclosure. Either way, don’t miss your chance to say hello to the newest member of the Drumlin Farm family!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-259-2239).
This past Saturday, Drumlin Farm’s annual farm-to-table fundraiser gala, Moon Over Drumlin, honored our incredibly talented and hardworking volunteer, Anne Patterson, with the Jonathan Leavy Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions. Since 2001, Anne has been a stalwart Drumlin Farm volunteer, contributing thousands of hours to the farm during that time. Nearly every day in the winter and spring she can be found in the greenhouse, where she manages our seedling operation, planting seeds – one by one, flat by flat – to grow the plants that fill 30 acres of farm fields and feed thousands of people before the harvest ends. She trains other volunteers and tackles the toughest of field chores year-round, making her an indispensable member of the crops team.
Anne (center) with her fellow volunteers.
Noted for her excellent, calculated, and precise methods of planting and willingness to always lend a hand, Crops Manager Matt Celona expressed, “It’s difficult to measure or put into words all that Anne has given to Drumlin—she’s part of the team, and she stands alone doing her own thing year-round, in all weather, bringing others here, teaching and delighting them with stories and brain-melting explanations of ‘simple’ mathematical concepts. Over time, Anne has taught me to introduce her to others not as a ‘retired mathematician,’ but as the voluntary farmer she most certainly is. Thank you, Anne.”
Upon receiving the award, her heart warming, comical, and poignant acceptance speech sparked inspiration in the audience, which they showed with a standing ovation. The Jonathan Leavy Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions was established in 2017 in his memory, to recognize a volunteer who has made significant contributions to Drumlin Farm during the previous year and who demonstrates the qualities of dedication, collaboration, and commitment that Jonathan brought to his work. Moon Over Drumlin has become a night to not only taste creative plating’s by local chefs, but also honor and recognize all the pieces that make Drumlin Farm the special place it is, in which volunteers are at the heart.
Volunteers are vital to Drumlin Farm’s success, contributing to a wide range of projects in the field, at programs and events, admissions, and beyond. Without volunteers like Anne and Jonathan, we would not be able to cultivate and share the bounty of nature, farming, and education that we do today. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Pam Sowizrol at email@example.com.
Many thanks and congratulations to Anne from everyone at Drumlin Farm!
Father Time did not pass by Drumlin Farm’s Sensory Tree exhibit. The tree started its life as a beautiful cedar growing adjacent to the admissions window with a bowed trunk uniquely suited to climbing and swinging. After being enjoyed for decades by climbing children, it was removed in 2008 to make way for Drumlin Farm’s accessible path, but was re-purposed as an educational exhibit. The cedar, reborn as the Sensory Tree and designed by Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi, was coated with resin and augmented with features to engage the senses: smell the cedar, listen to bird calls and woodpecker taps, and search for the hidden animals and insects.
For ten years the Sensory Tree provided a hands-on experience for children, teaching them what lives in and around a tree. But when it became apparent earlier in 2018 that the Sensory Tree had followed its natural path of decomposition, we needed to think of a replacement activity for this busy location adjacent to the farmyard entry path and our new Environmental Learning Center. Located at an opportune stopping point halfway down the welcome hill, the site would need to provide a destination for children on their way up or down the hill to run to, explore, or take a break at, all while being aesthetically pleasing and adhering to a limited budget. Thanks to an amazing team-effort from Drumlin Farm staff and volunteers, we were able to do just that.
Plan to Play
Interpretation Educator Norah Mazar designed the area and coordinated the project. Her initial visit provided area dimensions and an appraisal of the site – flat in the center, sloped to the back, partially surrounded by boulders and ledge, a section of partial shade, and an area of full sun. Norah drew-up plans for a nature play area with a spiral stepping activity made from downed trees on site. Nature play areas give people opportunities to connect with nature by encouraging self-directed, unstructured exploration and this winter’s storms knocked over more than thirty trees on the sanctuary, most of them pine, but some hardwoods as well. Naturalist Tia Piney advised on suitable plants for the adjacent slope, with native ferns, perennials and ground covers.
The site of the future nature play area.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Volunteer Coordinator Pam Sowizral worked with Thermo Fisher Scientific who generously supplied both volunteers to implement the project and funding to offset the costs of top soil, mulch, and plants. Meanwhile Property Manager Geoff Nelson and his staff started preparing for the project day by selecting fallen trees to use and removing the worn Sensory Tree. Project Day was a sunny Friday – May 18. The stumps and logs were eagerly waiting in a pile, as the eighteen Thermo Fisher Scientific employees volunteers came, sleeves rolled up, ready to get to work.
Thanks so much Thermo Fisher Scientific Volunteers!
Thanks so much Thermo Fisher Scientific Volunteers! Development Director Polly Reeve and uber volunteer Susan Vecchi, provided instruction on proper planting techniques while the team worked together digging, moving heavy logs, and planting. Once the top soil was moved to provide a bed for the new plantings the volunteers were able to get creative in their crafting a unique garden and nature display. Tia had chosen an array of plants native to New England that would be hardy during winters, good growers, and beautiful as well. Some plants were chosen for both foliage and flowers—sweet woodruff, geranium, lupine, trumpet honeysuckle, asters and foamflower. Others, for foliage alone, which can still grab ones eye—prairie dropseed, pink hair grass, feather reed grass, Pennsylvania sedge, Christmas fern, and lady fern.
Visit the Completed Project Today
Voila! A perfect spot to stop for a snack, a break, or more play!
It is always amazing what a group of hard working folks can accomplish in such a short time. Standing back, at the end of the afternoon, staff and volunteers could admire the finished project—stepping spiral, new seating, and plantings all in place—and feel good about a job well done. What’s more, they can think about the special moments and fond memories that are soon to be made in this area. What neat insects will an curious camper find when stopped here for a snack? Perhaps this will be the spot a young birder is sitting at when they identify their first songbird. Or a new parent may finally enjoy the time off their feet to sit and take in the natural surroundings after exploring the farm loop. Recently, Norah walked by the completed project and saw two youngsters joyfully playing the classic childhood game “The Floor is Lava” on the stumps as they bounded from one step to the next! With teamwork, creative re-use of natural materials, and a vision for what can be, a new nature play area for memory making and nature appreciation has found its home.