Tag Archives: camp

A Note from Renata Pomponi, Sanctuary Director

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

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

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

Wishing you a year of small-science wonders,

Renata Pomponi
Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director

April-September 2019 Program & Events

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

Meet Our New Camp Director, Meghan Haslam!

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

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

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

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

Meghan hiking the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meghan teaching students in Honduras.

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

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

Hiking amongst giant jungle ferns.

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

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

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

New Adventures Await at Assabet River Camp

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

Practice makes perfect!

The Archery Range is Open!

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

The best way to explore the river is by canoe!

Paddle Puffer Pond Each Week!

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

Fishing on Assabet River

Cast a Line from the Fishing Dock!

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

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

May-be Our Favorite Month!

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…

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

    Wilson’s Warbler ©Rosemary Mosco

  6. 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.

    Learn about the conservation work behind managing habitats for bobolinks and farmers. ©Phil Doyle

  7. Programs for Adults and Families – As always, Drumlin Farm is jam packed with special programming for adults, children, and families. Little ones can learn about tadpoles, pigs, bugs, and more while adults can take one of our many birding programs or take a tasty nature walk learning about edible plants. The opportunities to engage with the outdoor world are always new and eye-opening. 

Our Farm Fields are Living Classrooms

Post by Drumlin Farm Food and Farm Educator Emma Scudder

If you’ve ever ventured down to Boyce Field, home of Drumlin’s crops operation, then you know the beauty of the place. As far as the eye can see are rows and rows of vegetable plants. (Maybe I’m biased as a farm educator, but to me there is no better sight!) However, beyond affording a beautiful view, Boyce Field serves the equally important but lesser known role of classroom for our many visitors, students, and campers.

As an outdoor learning space, Boyce Field is a dynamic place where our school programplanting participants experience hands-on learning that’s connected to classroom curriculum and science standards. When schools sign up for field trips, teachers often give us information about the concepts they are studying, where they are in their unit, and the main curriculum connections they hope to make. With this information, we’re able to assign students a chore that’s not only tied to classroom learning but is also meaningful work.

weedoutThis past May, students learned about plant lifecycles while helping to de-bud first-year strawberry plants. (In order to encourage healthy growth in newly panted strawberries, we don’t harvest fruit; instead we remove their blossoms so they will not produce fruit.) Before we began, we reviewed the phases of the plant life cycle and how pulling flowers off of the young plants allows them invest their energy into growing strong roots and leaves, so that next year we can harvest delicious fruit from healthy, hearty crops. Students were able to observe strawberry plants that were in their second season, which were noticeably fuller and heavy with strawberries, and make the connection that the work they did will have a long-term positive impact on the plants and our farm.

Of course the learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school year: In the summer, campers have potatobeetlethe opportunity to delve into the crops operation at the busiest and most exciting time of the season. Recently, one group of campers, whose session focused on sustainable farming, spent an afternoon learning about and practicing sustainable pest control, picking Colorado potato beetles off of potato plants. As we went, campers were asked to think about how the practices we use at Drumlin are different from some other farms, where chemical pesticides are sprayed, and the environmental impacts of both methods. The afternoon flew by as campers explored issues related to our food system.

An added bonus: All this learning happens to be a big help to our crops operation! So far this season, program participants have contributed 65 hours of meaningful work, all while engaging in scientific learning in ways they never could have in an indoor classroom.

Next-Level Camp Counselor Training, Naturally

Post by Drumlin Farm Education Manager Jennifer Feller 

What’s the difference between a camp that simply takes place outdoors, and a “nature-based” camp? And how does teaching at a nature-based camp differ from teaching at other camps?

These are some of the questions we’re actively exploring with our counselors this week as they participate in week two of an extensive training program here at the farm.

staff photo

At Drumlin Farm Summer Camp, our goals include helping kids to develop an appreciation of nature, gain confidence and comfort being outdoors, and cultivate an understanding of the interconnectedness between people, land, and wildlife. To accomplish all of this this, we structure our camp to facilitate discovery, rather than just situating campers outdoors and hoping a love of nature “seeps in.” At the same time, we focus on building a supportive community, wherein campers learn to respect themselves, their peers, their place in the natural world, and the interdependence between all of us.

As an educator, I know it’s not easy to create a bustling camp that achieves all of these goals. To make sure our counselors are up for the challenge, Camp Director Becky Gilles implemented a unique, two-week training program that delves deeply into our camp philosophy as well as natural history, child development, and, of course, the safety and practical concerns of any accredited summer camp.

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So what do our counselors study while in training? Lesson planning, most definitely, but also what it means to teach with the child at the center of the learning, and how to use inquiry as the primary means of discovery; first aid, absolutely, but also how one’s interactions with peers serve as a model for a child’s developing sense of self; farm chores, yes, but also how to leave time for reflection and wonderment in the midst of a busy camp day.

Drumlin Farm Summer Camp begins Monday, June 22, in Lincoln, and Tuesday, June 30, at our Wolbach Farm and Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge satellite locations in Sudbury.

To learn more and to find a session that’s right for your camper, join us at an upcoming open house, give us a call at 781-259-2244 or check out our online program catalog.