May 19, 2012 - Drumlin Farm and Nature Walk with St Peters
On Saturday morning, May 19th, two Boston ICO volunteers, Allison and Ilana (myself), went on an adventure with seven wonderful students and one amazing chaperone. The ten of us began the day at St. Peter's Teen Center. Allison, the ICO leader initiated a name game that got everyone engaged and laughing. After a quick overview of the day, we packed into the cars and headed to our day's destination, Drumlin Farm. After a scenic, winding ride hopped out of the cars, sun-screened up, and went out for a hike. At the trailhead Allison and I split the group in two to go head to head in a picture scavenger hunt. Each team had to find and take pictures of: 1. Something with yellow flowers 2. A circle 3. Something with wings 4. Something that uses sustainable energy 5. An animal's home 6. A piece of trash (extra points for picking it up!)
Right away, everyone started looking for the best picture possible. Our hike through nature was extraordinary, with everyone actively engaged in nature and quiet enough to hear the birds singing in the trees above. When we reached a clearing at the top of a hill, we all made an unspoken pact to hang around for a while to admire the fields and farmland below. This setting was also a perfect spot to fins something with wings, with a clear view of the sky, bird houses along the lane, and butterflies hovering over the grass, even some of the students took flight, flying down the trail to capture the best picture or find the prettiest bird.
Taking another path tested the students' map reading skills, as there were few landmarks on the map, and no trail signs for guidance. Much to their credit, we found our way to a campfire ring and the framework of a hut made from all natural materials, twigs and twine. It was there that Allison led the group in a game of “find the pencil”. For two rounds she hid a number two pencil near that makeshift hut. In the third, and final round, she hit it in her hair, the result was hilarity, as each student found the pencil, some almost instantly, and some with a little subtle help from Allison. After our game we continued our hike to the farm, seeing the rows of crops, the conservation habitat, and the massive compost heap.
After all that walking we found a nice place to sit and had a well-deserved, healthy lunch. After which, we made our way into the part of Drumlin farm reserved for their animals. First came the birds of prey, a turkey vulture, a common crow, two great horned owls, and more. Next came the chickens, some looked familiar, some looked spectacular, and some had names none of us could pronounce. But the fascination came when we saw the barn with the pigs. Close to a dozen adorable black piglets scurried around a massive, docile, brown sow. Her size was astounding and the antics of the piglets were equally entertaining, and we were all enthralled with them. There has to be something about baby animals because everyone loved the baby sheep as well, running around on unsteady legs and trying to eat the grass sticking through the fence. Even though our photo contest was over, everyone clamored over cameras to catch the perfect shot.
Rounding out our trip we ventured over to the fox inclosure. This elusive little mammal was quite camera shy, in fact, most of us only caught a glimpse of him before he scurried underground to hide in a tunnel. What we got too much of, on the other hand, was his smell, as Allison taught us foxes mark their territory as dogs do, by urinating on it, and the entire area smelled just like a skunk. As we walked back to the car we moved slowly because we had been having too much fun to want to leave. In fact, in a wrap up game of roses and thorns, half of the students said they did not have one thorn for the day. I could not have asked for a better trip to begin my time volunteering with ICO. I'm looking forward to more adventures ahead, as I'm sure the other nine are as well.