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Urban Safari: Drumlin Farm 2012

We have visited a few Mass Audubon sanctuaries (BNCBlue Hills, etc…), but have never been to Drumlin Farm. Recently, we popped in for a look and were quite happy we did. Drumlin Farm is Mass Audubon’s flagship sanctuary, containing 232 acres of fields, forests, and ponds. The property features a sustainable working farm and a display of wildlife native to New England. The farm has a full-time staff of 25 people, in addition to 90+ seasonal teacher/naturalists, camp counselors, and farm apprentices. It is the only facility of its kind in the Greater Boston area.

The farm was established in the early 1900s by Louise Gordon Hatheway and her family. The family maintained a working farm and invited city children to visit and learn about farm life. In the mid-1950s, as farms close to Boston began disappearing, Mrs. Hatheway was inspired to donate Drumlin Farm to Mass Audubon upon her death. Since 1955, Mass Audubon has maintained her tradition of bringing children to the farm and have taught hundreds of thousands of children, adults, and families how land, food, wildlife, and people are bound together.

As it is a working farm, Drumlin is a local place to find sustainably raised produce, meat, and farm products, which reach thousands of families each year through their community supported agriculture (CSA) share program, the Drumlin farm stand, and at city farmers markets.

Drumlin Farm is not a zoo, but they do have animals who make Drumlin Farm their home because they have been injured or disabled and cannot survive in the wild. The Bird Hilland Drumlin Underground exhibits on the property are a chance for visitors to see up close many of New England’s wild animals, including skunk, rabbit, owls, hawks, deer, and fox.

Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary is many things. It is a destination where visitors can have a range of farm and nature experiences. It is an environmental education center that provides opportunities for all ages to experience and learn about nature and farming both on site and within their own communities.

Their “Know Your Food” program is an effort to promote and support community farms, eating locally, nutrition and health, and sustainable farming practices for both crops and livestock. Drumlin Farm plays a leadership role in this movement through production and distribution of farm products, providing educational programs and materials, and modeling sustainable practices.

One such example is on raising chickens. Chickens are easy to raise, provide eggs and meat. They also add nutrients to the compost pile, work the garden soil, and help control insect pests – plus, they are fascinating! Those interested in learning more can attend one of Drumlin Farm’s classes on raising chickens where they will cover the many breeds of chickens, their housing and feeding needs, egg production and more. Students will get to work with the chickens for some practical hands-on experience and learn handling, feeding, checking for egg laying, and other chicken-related tasks.

The movement speaks to how we all can eat and live responsibly by reducing our carbon footprint, stewarding the soil and land, conserving water and protecting water quality, raising livestock humanely, eliminating use of pesticides and other chemicals from our food chain, making healthy food choices, and supporting local sustainable agriculture.

Drumlin Farm is open Tuesday-Sunday year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Occasionally, they are closed to general visitation for special events, so check before going.

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