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5 Children’s Books to Read Together This Winter

The fireplace is crackling, the snow is falling gently outside, and you’re curled up on the couch with family, a cocoa, and a great book. This is what New England does best! Share the warmth of the winter season with these nature-themed children’s stories, available at the Audubon Shop. Pick one up on your next visit to Drumlin and encourage reading in your home.


  1. Winter Dance written by Marion Dane Bauer, Illustrated by Richard Jones

Winter is coming. A young fox watches the other animals in the forest get ready and wonders what he should do during his first winter as an adult. Nothing his neighbors do seems right for him but he discovers the wonderful answer along this animal filled journey. Beautiful illustrations and lyrical text will make children want to read this story again and again. Grade Level: Preschool – 3rd. 


2. Bear Has a Story to Tell written by Phillip C Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

“It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy. But first, Bear had a story to tell…” A kind and adorable bear wants to tell all his friends a story. However, Bear discovers that Mouse, Duck, Frog and Mole are getting ready for winter, so he decides to help them instead. Can he make it through his story without succumbing to sleep himself? Grade Level: 1-2


3. Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter

It’s early spring and sap’s rising on this family farm in rural New England. Discover how sap is harvested and turned into maple syrup with the help of everybody in the family.
Lovingly written and illustrated by Rossiter, a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, the book captures the soft light of spring, the crisp air, and the excitement and hard work of syruping time. Grade Level: K-6


4. Nature All Year Long by Clare Walker Leslie

This books is perfect for parents and their budding naturalists to share as they observe and learn together throughout the new year. In “Nature All Year Long”, artist, teacher, and naturalist Clare Walker Leslie guides you through each month of the natural year. Walker includes how to identify animal tracks, set up a bird feeder, plant bulbs, keep a nature journal, learn the constellations, how to make maple syrup, and much more! Grade Level: 1-4.


5. Owl Moon written by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by John Schoenherr‎ 

Join a little girl and her father to look for owls late one wintery night. Jane Yolen poetically tells  of the companionship between father and daughter and the owl moon that brings them together. Pick up a copy from the Audubon Shop at your next visit to Drumlin. Grade Level: Preschool-2


The Audubon Shop, located at Drumlin Farm, is open Tuesday–Sunday (and Monday Holidays)
10:00 am–5:00 pm. Shop their online store here.


Time to Build: December ELC Progress

Construction of the Environmental Learning Center continues on, rain or shine or snow or cold snap! December saw us through one of the most exciting phases of the project where the building’s structure sprung up from the ground with visible progress happening every day. Here’s a peek at what happened over the past few weeks.


The first thing to sprout from our new foundation was the walls. In just one day, our crew from Chapman Construction/Design framed out the walls and got them up to vertical, meaning we could finally see exactly what the silhouette of our new building looks like. We all love the way the building peeks over the horizon as you come down from the Nature Center, ensuring that our educational work will be apparent to Drumlin Farm visitors as soon as they start walking down the hill to the farm.


As the building went up, work on the surrounding landscape continued. After rerouting the path around a particularly tough bit of ledge, the hoe ram returned to hammer out a bit more rock along the ADA pathway. The newly exposed ledge will be a great feature for kids to explore as they walk from the parking lot to the new building.


Our staff loved seeing some of the more beautiful features of the new building take shape, thanks to the great work of our design team at Maclay Architects. The laminated beams provide strength, as well as style, as they hold up the awning over the main building entrance way. We think the exposed hardware at the joints adds a great farmy touch, too.


The same beams are used throughout the main building as structural support. The pins for each joint were hammered in place through the knife plates that connect the beams. It’s satisfying to imagine that this structure will still be standing to shelter future generations of Drumlin Farm educators for decades to come.


The crew worked long days and weekends through December to get the building closed in before the worst of the snow and cold. Our site supervisor Bob has been here every single day of the job, keeping the project on track down to the last detail. We will admire his handiwork on the skylights every time we look up through them – thanks, Bob!


The education staff ended their December staff meeting with a sneak preview inside the building. There’s a huge difference between seeing your office on a paper blueprint versus getting to walk inside it for real! With the walls in place and the windows framed out, we could start to envision the layout of the different rooms and imagine the creativity and learning that will take place inside. We can’t wait to share it with you in just a few more months.

Look for more updates coming soon. If you would like to learn more about the project, or get involved yourself, we invite you to learn more here.

Renata Pomponi

Sanctuary Director

Crops Update: Vol. 25

Last Farm Stand of the Season!

Yesterday we harvested from all fields for the last farm stand of the year. If you drop by Drumlin today you’ll be greeted by a colorful assortment of carrots, beets, radish, collards, kale and chard along with lettuce, cabbage, squash, potatoes and onions, and bags of spinach and arugula at the stand.


Thanks to all who have shopped with us throughout the season. And thanks to the volunteers and staff who kept the stand up and running and conducted Know Your Food programs (complete with samples) all season long!

Fall CSA Spots Available

If you want access to fresh Drumlin veggies year-round, it’s not too late to sign up for the Fall CSA. The program runs throughout month of November with the first pickup today. Get in touch with Farmer Sarah Lang if you want to join.

Root Veggies for Winter

We still have three more Saturday markets to attend in Somerville, as well as a Winter CSA and regular deliveries to our restaurant and school partners through spring. That in mind, we’ve moved more than ten thousand pounds of potatoes into the root cellar and have just begun bringing in the carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, celeriac, storage radish and rutabaga.

Your Farmers

Crops Update: Vol 24

AER Volunteer Help

On Thursday of last week, a large volunteer group from Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) of Lexington returned to the farm to lend a hand again, after helping us with the fall harvest last year. They are great fun to work with because they model weather for a living and really enjoy seeing and discussing the relationship between the conditions of a season and the impact on crops. They worked diligently and longer than we expected, harvesting 3,100 pounds of potatoes and 200 pounds of carrots. They then helped us break up over 100 pounds of garlic heads for seeding. Thanks so much to all of our AER volunteers!

Garlic Planting

Thankfully, it seems like rain is finally coming. The late summer and fall has been exceptionally dry, and the soil has turned powdery, reminding us of last year’s drought. However, these warm and dry conditions have been perfect for planting next year’s garlic crop and for harvesting potatoes. Over the weekend, we finished planting next year’s garlic crop with help from community volunteers Mimansa, Phuong, and Susie. We set aside 400 pounds of our largest garlic heads from July’s harvest and have been planting a few beds at a time over the past week. Our hands are usually stinging from the cold as we try to finish this job before the ground freezes, but it’s been a treat to plant garlic in 70 degree weather this week. In November, we’ll cover the garlic beds with straw to protect the seed.

It’s a good thing our garlic is doing well, as it’ll be an important deterrent for potential vampires at our Tales of the Night event this week!

Farm Stand

Even though we are filling the root cellar with potatoes and carrots, we still have beautiful field crops for the stand, market and CSA. Today at the farmstand you can find heads of lettuce, spinach, bok choy, tatsoi, radish and bunched beets and carrots.  We’re fortunate this year that the beets and carrots still have nice tops at this point in the season—the cold has usually damaged them by now. The last plum tomatoes of 2017 are also at the stand today. They’ve been ripening since we saved them from the freeze and are sweet enough to be sliced and eaten raw or cooked into sauce—yum! You also still have some time to sign up for our Fall CSA and Winter CSA to keep getting delicious, fresh crops throughout the colder seasons.

Your Farmers

Retiring Our Beloved Red Fox

Photo by Sean McMahon

After 11 years as an animal ambassador at Drumlin Farm, our silver-phase red fox is retiring. He will live comfortably in our Wildlife Care Center, where our staff will take care of him for his remaining days.

We’d like to take the time to tell you a little bit more about his story.

2004: When it All Began

Our fox has been with us since January 2006, and he has proudly reached his retirement age of 13 years old. He was originally brought into wildlife rehabilitation in 2004. He was underweight, emaciated, and suffered from seizures. The owner, who had bought the fox to keep him illegally as a pet, left wrong information and disappeared.

After almost two years of constant care by a certified wildlife rehabilitator, the fox was back to health and needed a permanent home having never learned how to survive in the wild. Drumlin Farm was happy to introduce the fox to the Drumlin Underground exhibit where the fox lived, at times, with another red fox.

Signs of Age

Wildlife Care staff noticed the first signs of age-related decline two years ago and has been monitoring the fox ever since. We had hoped that having a new home at the New England Wildlife Explorations exhibit would have eased some of his age-related ailments, but time seems to have taken a toll on the fox.

So now, after 11 wonderful years as one of our animal ambassadors, the fox will move to a new quiet retirement enclosure in a section of the farm closed to the public. The fox joins a crew of retired animals that include our oldest animal, the 42-year-old (at least!) turkey vulture that joined the farm in 1977 when he was already at least two years old.

Drumlin Farm’s Wildlife

Healthcare benefits for the captive wildlife at Drumlin Farm are very good. It’s free, enrichment is given regularly, and delicious meals are provided to all residents. Retirement is also part of the benefits package. Retirement age varies depending on the species, but a comfortable and quiet retirement home is planned for all.

Drumlin Farm is home to more than 70 wildlife animals, representing 37 species native to New England. These animals are non-releasable due to physical or behavioral challenges that prevent them from being competitive in the wild. Some of the animals are unable to capture their food, or escape a predator, and some never learned the social cues needed to interact with members of the same species. Young, healthy animals help our teachers in fulfilling Mass Audubon’s mission of protecting the nature of Massachusetts. Older animals, starting to show signs of physical decline, move into the Wildlife Care Center for retirement.

We don’t purchase our animals, but rather provide a good home to wildlife in need that cannot survive in the wild. We hope to fill the New England Wildlife Explorations exhibit soon with another fox.  We have been in the process of finding a companion for our silver-phase fox, and as I write, we have a solid lead on two red foxes that might join the Drumlin Farm family soon. We’ll announce their arrival on Facebook!

Until then, we here at Wildlife Care want to thank our fox, and our visitors, for a great 11 years.

Flavio Sutti
Wildlife Care Program Coordinator

6 Date Night Ideas at Drumlin Farm

Photo by Ian Maclellan

Move over, Dinner and a Movie. We’ve got date nights that’ll make anyone swoon.

1. August 18: Summer Concert with Lula Wiles

Even the classic picnic dinner doesn’t stand a chance. Bring your romantic meal with you and chill out on the hill while Lula Wiles does the serenading for you.

2. September 6: Full Moon Yoga and Campfire at the Farm

Your post-namaste treat? S’mores, duh.

3. September 8: Friday Evening Hayride and Campfire

Yes, you’ll be sharing your date night with some families and kiddos, but if you’re a kid-at-heart, this is a cute way to spend your Friday evening with that special someone. Because s’mores.

4. September 19: Wild Edibles Walk

Scribble down notes as Russ Cohen shows you allofthethings you didn’t know you could eat. Then munch on snacks he’s prepared, like stinging nettle fritters, Japanese knotweed crumble, and black walnut bars. Stop at Lincoln Kitchen for dinner afterward.

5. September 23: Moon Over Drumlin

Tastings from award-winning Boston chefs, guest appearances from our animal ambassadors, and wine. Lots of wine.

6. Flowers from the Market

OK. It’s not really a date night. And it’s not at the farm. But every Saturday, we’re at the Union Square Farmers Market slinging gorgeous bouquets. And bonus for all you single folks: Treat. Yo. Self.

When a Hive Loses Its Queen

By Beekeeper Mel Gadd

Learning Garden Hive

Since our spring update, several people noticed that the activity at the Learning Garden hive has dropped considerably. Initial inspection indicated that the bees might have abandoned this hive, as the normal busyness we are use to seeing this time of year is not happening.

So I performed a full inspection—opened the hive, pulled out bars with comb, checked the comb—to figure out the status of the hive. This is what I found:

  • Number of bees drastically reduced (just a handful left).
  • Very little stored honey, but a large amount of stored pollen.
  • No brood (egg, larval, or pupal cells) in the hive.
  • A number of open queen cells in the middle of the honeycomb. (Workers create these “supersedure cells” when they need to replace the queen. On the other hand, if the workers create “swarm cells”—queen cells at the bottom of the honeycomb—the hive is overcrowded and getting ready to swarm. This hive has no such cells.)

All of this indicates that the queen died or disappeared and the workers were not successful at raising a replacement before she was gone.

What’s Next

Within the next couple of weeks, I will add bees from one of the Skinny Field hives and buy and install a new queen. Both Skinny Field Hives (5 and 6, if you’re looking at the map in the spring update) are doing extremely well, which would allow me to split the bees in one of them. I will then merge these bees with those in the Learning Garden hive and introduce the new queen.

Feel free to visit the Learning Garden hive and open the windows and see if you notice the change in activity.

Questions? Contact Mel.

Drumlin Farm Crops Update Vol. 6

Heatwave #1

Looks like the first heat wave of the year has arrived. It’s 95 in the field where volunteers Anne and Shelia are crawling along over the hot soil thinning beets—amazing! The heat will push the strawberries and peas along, and we’ve moved Strawberry Day to June 24 because not enough of the berries will be ready by this weekend. We do plan to pick strawberries for the first time tomorrow morning and bring them up to the stand.

Google Volunteers Planting Dahlias

This past week we got lots of great help from three large groups. On Thursday, volunteers from Google planted dahlias. Their company made a donation to help us purchase the plants from a nursery. After planting the dahlias, the volunteers thoroughly weeded four beds of celery and celeriac. Thanks for the help!

Thanks, Camp Counselors!

On Friday morning, Zach and Emma brought the camp counselors to the field to learn about our crops program and to get trained for the upcoming “Weedouts”—the mornings when campers get dirty and pull weeds. Thanks counselors for making camp a rewarding first connection to Drumlin for so many kids and families, and thanks for pulling those weeds in the radicchio and peas!

Storm Volunteers

On Friday afternoon, brought volunteers to the field just in time to plant the sweet potato slips. A thunderstorm passed through, but the gang brushed it off and happily set 2,500 plants in about an hour. Thanks for all your great work and for the donation!

Summer CSA Countdown

The summer CSA opens this week just as many new crops are about to come in. We are close to our first harvest of chard, beets, carrots and garlic scapes. We’re excited to see what’s ready come Wednesday morning. If you’re interested in grabbing a last-minute share, visit

Your Farmers

Drumlin Farm Crops Update Vol. 5

By Crops Manager Matt Celona

Plantings for the Week

The continued gray and cool weather means we’re twiddling our thumbs waiting for the first peas, beets, carrots and strawberries to come in. In the meantime, we’ll continue planting: watermelons, sweet potatoes, and dahlias are all scheduled to go in the ground this week.

Last week, volunteer groups planted dahlia seedlings, the second round of sweet corn, and our only popcorn for the year—5,300 plants! Thank you to all of our volunteer groups who helped by donating both time and money to our planting efforts.

Those Pesky Potato Beetles

We’re hoping to delay our first spraying of the year by relying on some old-fashioned pest control (squishing them). But when the first round of eggs hatches, and the larvae start to munch on the plants, we’ll begin spraying our bacteria-based, OMRI-approved pesticides (Organic Materials Review Institute).

SNAP Dollar Approval

Mass Audubon has received approval to accept SNAP dollars (formerly Food Stamps) for Drumlin Farm’s CSAs and for our market loyalty program at Union Square Farmer’s Market. Improving access to nature and—in the case of Drumlin Farm—to locally-produced food, is an important component of Mass Audubon’s vision. We hope that more people will be able to enjoy our food as a result of the expansion of this program.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts at Drumlin Farm

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

[Pause for gasp]

Here’s what to do:

1. Drive to 208 South Great Road in Lincoln, MA.

2. Walk to the admissions window.

3. Ask to see the selection of cow milk soap ($3–4.50 depending on the weight). Pick 2 or 3 of your favorites.

4. Grab a wool skein while you’re at it ($10).

5. Put it all in a Drumlin Farm tote bag ($5).

You’re welcome.