Tag Archives: Drumlin Farm

Flavio Sutti holding binoculars at Arches National Park in Utah

In Your Words: Flavio Sutti

In Your Words is a regular feature of Mass Audubon’s Explore member newsletter. Each issue, a Mass Audubon member, volunteer, staff member, or supporter shares his or her story—why Mass Audubon and protecting the nature of Massachusetts matters to them. If you have a story to share about your connection to Mass Audubon, email explore@massaudubon.org to be considered for In Your Words in a future issue! 


Flavio Sutti holding binoculars at Arches National Park in Utah
Flavio Sutti at Arches National Park in Utah

Growing up in the Italian Alps, I spent most of my time on my grandparents’ farm. The animals and the surrounding forests and fields provided a magical and safe place to explore nature, learn how to care for animals and crops, and understand the intricate connection between humans and the landscape they inhabit.

As an adult, most of my life experiences have had animals as a key component. In Italy, I had many jobs: working in a natural history museum, as a wildlife biologist conducting environmental impact statements, as a researcher with universities, and as a wildlife rehabilitator, where I came to know the stories of individual animals and greater realize the importance of educating people.

My first introduction to the U.S. began in 2003 when I spent several semesters interning at the Glen Helen Nature Preserve and Raptor Rehabilitation Center, part of Antioch College in Ohio. I met and married my wife in the pine forest in Glen Helen. Our ring bearer was an imprinted Barred Owl (a bird that had become habituated to humans such that it couldn’t survive in the wild) I’d trained at the raptor center, who was carried down the aisle on my mentor’s arm.

Flavio (right) on his wedding day with his mentor, Bet Ross, and his ring bearer owl, Grinnell
Flavio (right) on his wedding day with his mentor, Bet Ross, and his ring bearer owl, Grinnell

In 2006, settled in a new state, my first official job was as a teacher naturalist at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. When I think back, what drew me to Drumlin Farm must have been the familiar combination of farm and wildlife, both of which so strongly impacted me as a child. I was, and continue to be, impressed with the ways in which Mass Audubon’s mission is so in line with my values. Those same values brought me back to Drumlin Farm in 2013 to run the Wildlife Care Center after earning my master’s and doctoral degrees in Wildlife Biology at the University of Vermont.

My work at Drumlin Farm feels more important every day as I see my own daughter grow up and connect with the animals and nature. Now that we’re embarking on a renovation of the Wildlife Care Center, I’m looking forward to using my experiences to make Drumlin an even better place for animals and education. I believe that we can profoundly help wildlife by inspiring people to take better care of the natural world.

Flavio holding a millipede and showing it to children as part of a school program in Lowell.
Flavio leading a school program in Lowell

Flavio Sutti is the Wildlife Program Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sanctuary Takeover on Instagram

Mass Audubon’s Instagram account is hitting the road.

For the next few months, our wildlife sanctuaries will “take over” the feed for a few days at a time, showing off what makes each sanctuary so unique.

First stop: Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. Don’t miss a post. Be sure to follow Mass Audubon on Instagram and check out #sanctuarytakeover

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The Importance of Supporting Future Farmers

Excerpted from a speech given by Matt Celona, Crops Manager at Drumlin Farm, during Moon Over Drumlin, an annual fundraiser held in Lincoln.

It feels good to be amongst people who care that it’s pumpkin season, amongst people who love nature and farming, and the future of both. We all love freshly harvested, sustainably-raised food, and we understand that the quality of our crops and livestock depends on the health of the ecosystems that nourish them and nourish us all. You can feel confident that at Drumlin Farm, your farmers are conscientiously stewarding the soil, water, and landscape that in turn feed the plants and animals—domesticated and wild—that make their homes here.

By donating to Drumlin Farm, you are helping to support our Crops Apprenticeship Program, a program that is synonymous with the future of farming. That may sound grandiose, but these words from farmer and activist Wendell Berry ring true: “The first thing farmers as conservationists must try to conserve is their love of farming and their love of independence. Of course they can conserve these things only by handing them down, by passing them on to their children, or to somebody’s children. Perhaps the most urgent task for all of us who want to eat well and to keep eating is to encourage farm-raised children to take up farming.”

I don’t have children of my own, and farm-raised children are few and far between in metropolitan areas. But there are many people out there—I myself was one of them several years ago—with a passion for the environment, a deep curiosity about food production, a desire to work on a farm, and yet no farming experience. This is where Louise Hatheway’s vision and your generosity come together: thanks to her—Drumlin’s original benefactress—and you, our farm thrives here in Lincoln a mere half hour from Boston and the thousands of people yearning to learn more about sustainable food production.

During my 10 years at Drumlin Farm, I have trained close to 50 of these committed and hard-working people. Dozens have been recent college graduates, some never saw the need to go to college, some have been career-changers, but only one grew up on a farm, and that was in Mexico. You can see how drastically culture and agriculture have diverged in America.

And yet, each season apprentices arrive here in April or early May and are soon seeding, transplanting, weeding, trellising, harvesting, running our stand at farmers’ markets, coordinating our summer and winter CSA programs, talking to chefs, delivering produce to restaurants, and leading groups of summer campers and volunteers in field work.

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They learn quickly and make the Crops Operation hum. Some leave in October after one season with us. Some return for up to three seasons before moving on to farm management positions elsewhere. Our alumni include:

  • Teacher at UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
  • Assistant farm manager at Allandale Farm in Brookline
  • Manager of Gibbet Hill Farm in Groton
  • Manager of Common Ground Farm in New York
  • Founder of Butterbee Flower Farm outside of Baltimore
  • Founder of a vegetable farm in Maine
  • Manager of an urban garden at a youth center in Washington D.C.

These graduates of the Drumlin Crops apprenticeship program are indeed the future of farming. Please give generously in support of their education and their good work here. The future of farming and our good eating depend on it. Thank you. 

5 Lesser Known Fun Facts about Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm Forest Discovery TrailIf you’re already familiar with Drumlin Farm, you probably know that when you visit, you’ll see farm animals like cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, and a pony.

You might also know that we provide a home to rehabilitated injured and imprinted native wildlife, which you can see at our Bird Hill and Drumlin Underground exhibits. There’s even a chance you or your children have taken a class, attended a special event, or been part of our summer camp.

But that’s not all Drumlin Farm has to offer. Head over the MassVacation’s blog to find 5 things you may not know about Drumlin Farm.

And do share in the comments your favorite thing to do or see at Drumlin Farm!