Fall at Farrington
After the buzz of the summer program, things slow down significantly during the fall. Each year, however, a bit more happens. This September, nearly 130 youth visited Farrington Nature Linc for programs, in addition to another 75 adults for volunteer programs. You can visit (blog post) for more info on our very successful fall volunteer events, but read on for info on the youth programs so far this fall. Each fall, the 8th grade students from the Cambridge Street Upper School come out to Farrington for a community building day. The students create hand prints on paper, decorated with items and images they use to identify themselves. They bring the hand prints back to school where they then make banners in their home rooms with the prints. They also do team building activities, play games, and most importantly, go on a short hike through the woods.
This year, the 8th grade teaching team is bringing in more mindfulness activities into their home rooms. As a part of the hike, we had intended to introduce sit spots, the opportunity for students to sit quietly on their own in nature. When our time line was thrown for a loop when the bus arrived late, instead we decided to play a game of Hawkeye. Our version of hide and go seek where the seeker stays put, students are actually experiencing their own sit spot, but with the added piece of being a part of a game. Many students who had never been in the woods before, who proclaimed the woods “creepy,” were contented hiding behind trees or rocks for the purpose of a game. Ah, the power of games!
Later in the month, we had our first community program of the fall, the Fall Family Hike. Several families joined us for a hike out to Pride Rock, where the kids happily bounded up the rock. Much to our surprise, we found a new Geo-Cache box on top of the rock! Perhaps a geo-cache program will be in the lineup at Farrington in the future.
Then we went up into the woods next to Farrington Hall for our Nature Engineering Challenge. Families worked together to build a structure that was taller than our staff member, and had at least two levels. We loved seeing the different ideas that came out, and watching the children and their caretakers work together to build the structures.
In addition, we also ran our first birthday party at Farrington this fall! One happy birthday girl and 25 of her friends came out to make wizard sticks, go for a hike, and spend plenty of time in the woods “winterizing” fairy houses and gnome homes for the magical creatures in our woods to use as the leaner, colder months come. One group of girls worked together to move pieces of wood 20 feet long to build their own fairy roads in the woods. Others put acorns into holes in trees for winter “larders.” Afterward, they enjoyed delicious cake and grabbed their wizard sticks to take home and spread the magic far beyond their time at Farrington.
We’ve also been worked on spreading the Farrington love beyond the 75 acres of Farrington. We joined Cambridge Camping Association for their first ever Family Fun Night in Harvard Square. Hundreds of families came through Harvard Square, running underneath parachutes and playing field games with CCA staff, enjoying tastes of delicious things from local businesses, and making bird beaks with some of our summer staff. It was a real pleasure to see some of the families who joined us during the Cambridge Adventure Day Camp Nature Camp and the Perseid Family Campout!