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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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 [email protected].
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 .
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).
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 ([email protected], 781-259-2239).
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!
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
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted butter
Preheat waffle iron.
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!
In a separate large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix together until smooth.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until combined.
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
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
To make the syrup, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a saucepan.
Stir in the apple cider and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil.
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!
The Drumlin Bee School recently completed its ongoing five week series program and graduated 38 students as new beekeepers. The Drumlin Farm beekeeping series programs teach students everything they need to know about starting and maintaining bee hives at home. Mel Gadd, recently awarded Massachusetts’ Beekeeper Association’s 2017 Beekeeper of the Year, has been leading Drumlin Farm Students and teaching them this rewarding hobby for many years.
Instructor Mel Gadd prepares to open the hive.
The students recently visited some of the hives on the Mass Audubon Headquarters site and practiced installing new bees into two of the hives. Having a healthy population of bees is important for a healthy habitat as they provide many ecological services, most notably in the pollination of flowers and plants. Drumlin Farm, as well as the Mass Audubon Headquarters site across the street, hosts many hives in our fields and forest edges to encourage bee populations and teach program participants about these fascinating insects and their care.
There are many layers and parts within the artificial hives.
Beekeeping for Beginners graduates have the opportunity to advance their skills even further with Intermediate Beekeeping classes but there are many ways visitors can connect with these busy insects and the honey they provide. Children will love our Queen Bee, Honey Bunny, and Apple Honey Harvest programs, as well as the opportunity to focus on the Power of Pollen at Mini Camp. Adults can also have a merry time learning the ancient methods used in making mead, an ancient wine made from honey!
Drumlin Farm in May is filled with blooming flowers, warmer weather, and the laughs of visiting school children. If you’re looking for ways to get out of the house and reconnect with the outdoors after a long winter, you’ve come to the right place! We’re looking forward to…
Camp Registration – The end of school is fast approaching! Summer Camp is great for keeping kids physically active while learning in the off season, and having fun outdoors! Check out our offsite camps in Sudbury where kids can explore Assabet River ecology by canoe and learn classic camp activities like archery.
Campers exploring Assabet River by canoe
Spring CSA Beginning – Wednesday, May 16th marks the first day for Spring CSA Pick Ups 12-6 pm. Shareholders will receive tender greens, head lettuces, herbs, scallions, salad radishes, carrots, sweet salad turnips, and (weather permitting) sugar snap peas, strawberries, and beets along with tips, recipes, and updates from our farmers themselves. A limited number of shareholder spots are still available, so if you’re interested and haven’t registered yet, you can do so today.
Picking crops during the first week of last year’s Spring CSA.
Author Event: Do Doodlebugs Doodle? by Corinne Demas & Artemis Roehrig – On Saturday, May 5th at 10:30 am, this mother-daughter author team will be at the Audubon Shop signing copies of their two humorous question and answer books about insects, Do Doodlebugs Doodle? and Does A Fiddler Crab Fiddle? Afterwards, we’ll enjoy visitor education insect programs at 11:30 and 12:30 to get hands on with the lessons learned in this story.
Union Square Farmer’s Market – Drumlin Farm will be at the outdoor Union Square Farmer’s Market starting Saturday, May 12. Stop by any time between 9 am and 1 pm to say hello! We’ll have farm-fresh veggies and viola plants for sale.
Bird-a-Thon – It’s time to reclaim our winning title at this year’s statewide Bird-a-thon! Bird-a-thon, Mass Audubon’s largest fundraiser, brings together supporters from across the state to raise essential funds for nature conservation, education, and advocacy while competing in an exciting birding competition. Adults can join the Drumlin Farm team and participate at Mount Auburn Cemetery and Teens Birders can join in the fun at Drumlin Farm!
Hidden Treasures Program sponsored by the National Heritage – Join a Drumlin Farm Teacher Naturalist Saturday, May 19th 10:0-11:30 am to learn about why habitats are so important to local animals. Meet a couple of our resident songbirds then take a walk out to our fields to discover what Drumlin is doing to manage our habitats for farming as well as native animals.
Knock on wood, but we think it’s safe to say no more nor-easters for this season. Celebrate the warmer weather with some good ole fashion time outdoors. April at Drumlin Farm is filled with excited newborns to visit, special events, engaging programs, and more.
Spring Optics Sale– Now through April 8th, the Audubon Shop has binoculars, spotting scopes, and tripods on sale to get you ready for birding season. Treat yourself or a loved one to some new gear!
Visitor Education Day: All About Birds– Have you ever visited Drumlin Farm on a Visitor Education Day? We’ll have a number of special activities taking place at the farm, all included in the price of admission! On Saturday, April 7th, it’ll be “All About Birds” with live birds to meet, bird banding demonstrations, and a take home bird craft.
Spring CSA Sign Up– Produce grown right here in Boyce Field will start becoming available in May when our Spring CSA starts. Register for your share now so you can enjoy the fresh, delicious produce through June.
Sign up for Summer Camp – Get summer plans checked off of your to-do list and sign up now for Drumlin Farm camp! Our Farm Mania week makes a great first introduction to camp life for preschoolers and rising kindergarteners, or kids of any age who love farm animals. Spots are still available in our mini camps at Assabet River and Wolbach Farm as well.
City Nature Challenge– They say Boston is the City of Champions, and now there’s another chance for YOU to help prove it! From April 27–30, be a part of team Boston in the worldwide City Nature Challenge (CNC)! The CNC is an international citizen science project with cities worldwide competing to explore and record all kinds of plants, animals, fungi, and even microorganisms in their area using the iNaturalist app. Accepting submissions anywhere within the I-495 corridor, Drumlin Farm is the perfect place to explore and log sightings.
Froggy Night Walk – The frogs are awake and talking! Learn more about these ribbet-ing amphibians and the springtime chorus they proclaim at our family Froggy Night Walk on April 6th from 7-8:30 pm.
Sorting Out the Songbirds– Want to perfect your songbird identification skills? Join us for a lecture and field trip focusing specifically on songbird identification and familiarity. After these programs, your enjoyment of these melodic birds will be enriched even further with your newfound knowledge and understanding.
Intermediate Beekeeping – Intermediate Beekeeping starts Tuesday, April 24th. Lead by Massachusetts Beekeepers Association’s Beekeeper of the Year Mel Gadd, these classes will cover swarm management, splits, overwintering hives, pest and disease treatment and prevention, and other tricks of the trade.
Author Talk: Robert Thorson: The Guide to Walden Pond. Walden Pond, located just a few minutes from Drumlin Farm, is beloved for its natural beauty which inspired the famous naturalist, Henry David Thoreau. Join us for a talk and book signing by Robert Thorson, author of The Guide to Walden Pond, the first guide to this cherished natural and literary landmark.
Small Scale Agriculture: Spring is Here – If you have your own home garden, this class is perfect to take it to the next level and get the most out of your personal crop. We will cover all the basics of getting your garden started. Learn about creating a working compost system, preparing a garden bed, planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, dividing herbs, pruning blueberries, raspberries and fruit trees, and choosing cover crops.
Have you ever tried Drumlin Farm honey? Our bees work hard to pollinate our crops along with providing us with delicious honey, all under the watchful eye of our beekeeper, Mel Gadd. We’re proud to announce that Mel was recently named the 2017 Beekeeper of the Year by the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association.
Mel Gadd has been keeping bees a little over ten years in Cambridge, MA. He has been involved with the Essex County Beekeepers Association (ECBA) for the past ten years, as Chair of the ECBA Bee School in 2015 and is on his second term as an ECBA Board of Director.
Mel maintains over twenty hives, with three located in his own backyard and three at schools where he works with the 1st and 5th graders as his beekeepers. He started major beekeeping programs at Drumlin Farm, both in the fields, as well as established an educational program on the bees as part of Drumlin’s regular programming. This includes a five-week Bee School where Mel teaches participants everything they need to know about how to keep bees, and maintaining many hives at Drumlin.
The 2018 Drumlin Farm Beekeeping for Beginners held its first class on the last Tuesday of February. The class was full with 38 students who were totally enthralled with the idea of keeping honey bees during the upcoming season. The idea of the class is to prepare students so that at the end of the five weeks in classroom and one day in the field, they will be able to start their beekeeping experience. Intermediate Beekeeping with Mel starts the last Tuesday in April, with registration currently open.
Mel Gadd teaching at a full class of soon-to-be beekeepers
Mel has also been involved with some of the non-traditional types of hives (top bar, Warre & Slovenian hives) and has been teaching about these at a number of forums in the region. At Drumlin, Mel has also been conducting studies using mushroom spores as an organic way to minimize/eliminate varroa mites.
Recently, he was awarded Massachusetts Beekeepers Association’s 2017 Beekeeper of the Year Award. As an integral part of our farm-to-food programming and honey supply, we congratulate Mel and invite our community to learn from the best at one of his upcoming programs. Check back in for periodical “Inside the Hive” updates from Mel and his busy bee’s as they prepare for the upcoming season and learn about this fun hobby and important skill.
Amidst the colder days and business of the holidays, it’s important to take time out to enjoy the season. Here are some of our favorite activities to do at Drumlin Farm in December.
1. December Naturalist Walk – Learn about the habitats, wildlife, and plant life of the sanctuary through a naturalist’s eyes. There’s no better way to appreciate the start of the winter season than by exploring the property on a Naturalist Walk with Education Coordinator Tia Pinney.
Photo Credit: Ian MacLellan
2. You Can’t Catch Me, I’m the Gingerbread Man! – Get in the delicious holiday spirit and spend time with family during our Gingerbread Man program. Here, you’ll design and decorate your very own gingerbread man and hear about his exciting adventures escaping from cow, pig, goat, and cat. We’ll wrap up by paying a visit to his friends on the farm and enjoying the delicious treat.
3. Holiday Shopping at the Audubon Shop – Pick up a gift for everyone on your list! The Audubon Shop has beautiful holiday cards, home decor, children’s toys, and quirky accessories for everyone – birder or not! Alternatively, you can get some shopping done from the comfort of your home through the Online Audubon Shop. The Audubon Shop will be open every day of December, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except for Sunday December 24 when we close at 2:00 pm, and Monday December 25 when we will be closed all day.
4. Ode to Evergreens – Traditional Christmas trees tend to be evergreen conifers such as spruce, pine, or fir. Drumlin Farm is host to a number of different species of evergreens; practice your tree ID skills by taking a walk around the property and try to identify as many as you can.
5. Taking Photos – Drumlin Farm offers many picturesque scenes perfect for taking holiday card photos. There are also many opportunities to practice your nature photography and hone your skills adjusting to winter lighting.
6. Wildlife Winter Adaptations – Did you know red foxes use their bushy tails to cover sensitive areas, like their nose and eyes, from the cold in the winter? Visit the farm animals on site and wildlife in our New England Wildlife Explorations exhibit to see and learn different animals’ methods for adapting to the winter cold.
Photo Credit: Henrietta Yelleoktouse
7. Winter Birding – The sanctuary hosts a wide variety of birds year-round. In addition to our on site animal ambassadors, you can bird around the sanctuary for winter wings and submit your findings to Mass Audubon’s eBird page. You can also print out this checklist to keep track of what you find while walking around!