Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm a Farm Ambassador!

Many of you know that over the years I've been volunteering at special events at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA. I volunteer at the maple breakfast, Woolapalooza (the interpretive trail from sheep to sweater), Harvest Festivals, and Tales of the Night (for Halloween) each year. Usually I request to get assigned to kid's crafts or educational areas.

Drumlin has many regular educational programs for children and adults and has added 'know your food' and local harvest dinners in recent years. This spring I reached out to my contact for all of the volunteer work assignments and applied to become a Farm Ambassador. I got the position and my first Saturday is June 18 (which is also strawberry picking day at the farm!). I will still continue my work on special events, but one weekend each month I'll work on a particular lesson plan for the guests there that day. I also get an official Mass Audubon name tag, which is kind of cool.

The lesson plans are pre-built (and each lives in it's own Tupperware--very well organized). Some days I'll teach kids about various animals on the farm (there's a sheep and goat station to set up in that part of the farmyard, and a chicken one, an animal one to set up near the foxes, raptors, rabbits (they are in separate areas--otherwise they would all hunt each other). I'll be paired up with another worker and there's even kits prepared for animal skeletons, garden seeds (to be near the greenhouse and gardens), and animals furs. I was instructed when the children ask "How did the animal die?" to just say that we found it in the woods somewhere and that it had lived a very long healthy life. I'm already used to the question: "Do the farm animals here have names?" (the answer is no, since often they are turned into food).

I know a lot of folks do fundraising events for various charities they are passionate about. Others may volunteer there time instead (as I do). Do you have any advice for me as I begin this new adventure? Maybe you've worked with children in your schools or area clubs. These are all interactive exhibits (think: Boston Science Museum) where it's really hands-on with the kids. Let me know about your favorite way to give back and nurture a passion VERY different than your day job!

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