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Clare and her third grade class had a field trip to New Pond Farm to learn about maple sugaring.  New Pond is a working dairy farm and environmental center that offers classes in nature, farming, astronomy and Native American heritage, among other wonderful things.

When Nick and I first started homeschooling, I arranged for us to go to New Pond every Monday and help out. I would have loved it if he hooked up with the farmers and helped muck out stalls and the like, but Nick chose to feed and care for the creatures living in the reptile room instead. So once a week we headed over to the farm to clean tanks and cages and dole out rations of crickets and worms to the various lizards, frogs and turtles that live in the Reptile room. Since we were homeschooling, the opportunity to feed and handle the creatures turned into a science lesson about each animal and their environment and when we went home, we studied more about each one.  Nick and I looked forward to our Mondays spent at the farm.

Nick and I wandered about a bit on our own taking pictures while Clare and her class walked through the woods following the maple sugar lines.  When our hands were cold enough and we had taken enough pictures of the frozen stream that runs through the hundred acre property, we joined the class as they went into the sugar shack and learned more about making maple syrup.  I have lived on the east coast most of my life and it never occurred to me that maple trees don’t grow everywhere in the world. Clare’s teacher told us that there are no maple trees in Belgium and that she didn’t have any maple syrup until she came to visit a friend who lived in the States. She said  in Belgium maple syrup is one of the most expensive items in the super market. The kids were amazed. What ever did she have on her pancakes?

I’m hoping that I can get Clare registered for camp at New Pond this summer. Nick is hoping that he can start going back and feeding the reptiles again. We are all so lucky that there is a resource like New Pond in our backyard.

~ by photobella on 29 February, 2008.

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