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Boston, MA – February 23, 2015 – If you’re staying close to home over April school vacation week, or just looking for spring adventures, The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) – the nation’s oldest statewide land conservation organization with 112 beautiful reservations located around the state – offer activities to add to a “to do” list for fun. From organized hikes and explore-on-your-own scavenger hunt-style quests, to volunteer days, cooking classes, or vacation adventure camps, The Trustees can help plot your family’s course for fun and adventure, whichever path you plan to follow.
“Staycations can be the perfect opportunity for families to spend quality time together, using home as a launching point to get out and discover new interests and experiences,” says Barbara Erickson, President and CEO, The Trustees of Reservations. “The Trustees offer wonderful opportunities for our members and visitors to unplug, reconnect with things that matter, and experience the best of Massachusetts, using our properties and diverse programs as platforms to get out, get active, and be inspired.”
With the popularity of cooking programs on the rise, The Trustees offer a diverse line-up of culinary programs for all ages throughout the year at Appleton and Powisset Farms, designed to connect people with our local farms (and farmers!) and inspire healthy eating through creative cooking. Budding farmers can roll up their sleeves and dig in (with hands and forks) at Appleton Farms in Ipswich during the Dig In! Farmer for a Week April vacation program. Participants can explore America’s oldest working farm as they follow the life cycle of a plant from seed to harvest, meet the farmers, discover how a cow turns green grass into creamy milk, prepare a scrumptious and healthy lunch with farm fresh ingredients, and more. Visit http://bit.ly/1AoUVTQ for more information. Adults can join us for Appleton Farm’s Farmstead Cheese Tour: http://bit.ly/16rBRKu.
The Trustees offer 12 unique “Quests,” or nature-based scavenger hunts, around the state that provide a fun and interactive way for families to explore the outdoors together. Two of these Quests are at Ravenswood Park in Gloucester, home of The Cape Ann Discovery Center. Your family can have fun solving the Hermit’s Haven Quest or the Sweetbay Swamp Quest or both! Be sure to borrow a Discovery Detective pack and explore the 600-acre park and meander 10 miles of carriage paths and trails. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1L4wAqZ. For a complete list of Trustees’ Quests, visit www.thetrustees.org/quests.
Vacations can be a great time to visit a historic house museum and take a “behind-the-scenes” tour and see history come alive. The Trustees care for several historic homes and house museums around the state, most of which open to the public in May; however, The Old Manse in Concord is open year-round for special events and by appointment. Built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson, the Manse, which neighbors the Old North Bridge and Minuteman National Park where the battle that started the American Revolution began, was also home to transcendentalists Nathanial Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson who both penned famous works there. During vacation week, stop by the Manse for an Attic Tour or to experience history firsthand during Patriot’s Day celebrations by attending our Open House. Hear stories of the Manse’s revolutionary connections and what residents were doing on the day the war began in their own backyard. For details visit http://bit.ly/1vq4tz5. For a list of other Trustees historic houses opening for tours and events in May, visit http://bit.ly/1BRX0FH.
For a fun family activity that gives back, consider volunteering together at a local Trustees property and chose from a variety of activities, including clearing harmful invasive species, maintaining hiking trails, or planting flowers and vegetables. Bird Park, a popular community park located in Walpole, features artisan-built stone bridges, frog ponds, and brooks with three miles of walking paths that meander through rolling fields and tree groves. Join us with family or friends on April 11 for a Spring Clean-Up Day and help bring this special park “back to life,” while meeting other volunteers interested in helping to care for this Walpole treasure. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1HS2TLH and for a complete list of volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.thetrustees.org/volunteer/.
Spring is the ideal time for families to explore vernal pools and learn about tree frogs, peepers, salamanders, and the loud symphony they conduct at dusk. If you’ve never heard the merry sound of life in a vernal pool during mating season (which some say sounds like sleigh bells ringing), Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield can provide the perfect introduction. Before you peek into the pools, be sure to investigate the highest point of Bartholomew’s Cobble that rises 1,000 feet to a 20-acre upland field on the Massachusetts–Connecticut border and offers panoramic views northward up the beautiful Housatonic River Valley. Then stop by the Creature Feature: Life in a Vernal Pool program on Saturday, April 11, and visit our large vernal pool where you’ll look for wood frog and salamander eggs, fairy shrimp, and fingernail clams, all while learning about the ecology of this complex natural community. Leave with pointers on how to identify – and protect – these important, but seasonal, ponds in your own community. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1zPreho.
Spring is the perfect time to get inspired about plotting your own family garden. To help prepare, The Trustees offer a wide array of seed and plant swaps, gardening workshops, and wild flower hikes throughout the state. Gardeners of all ages are invited to a Grow Your Own Seedlings Workshop on Wednesday, April 22, hosted by The Trustees’ Boston Region, at City Natives Community Garden in Mattapan. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1FGyvC1.
For family bird enthusiasts, spring is the perfect time to take advantage of numerous opportunities on Trustees properties throughout the state to learn about birding. For starters, Bullitt Reservation in Ashfield is a birder’s paradise on 265 acres featuring open fields, trickling streams, and expansive woodlands. Join Tom Ricardi, founder of The Birds of Prey Rehab Facility for Up Close: Live Birds of Prey on Saturday, April 25. Your children will be awed by the chance to see and meet the hawks, owls, and eagles that are under Mr. Ricardi’s care. For more information visit http://bit.ly/16gAMVa and for more bird watching opportunities, visit www.thetrustees.org/birding.
With more than 350 miles of trails traversing Trustees’ properties throughout the state, families can chose from a number of hikes for all levels of fitness spanning miles of coast, mountains, farm fields and woodlands. For those with an inclination for inclines, Petticoat Hill in Williamsburg is one of three hills that rises more than 1,000 feet above this charming New England town and offers over 1.5 miles of hiking trails best suited to family explorers looking for moderate challenge. Known for its diversity of trees, some more than 110 feet high and among the tallest in the region, the views at the top are your guaranteed reward for the effort. On Saturday, April 11, join Jeannine Atkins, author of the book, “Girls Who Looked under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists” for an Author Talk and Hike up Petticoat Hill. For more information about this event, visit http://bit.ly/1zchZpw. For a list of other challenging Trustees hikes, visit: http://bit.ly/16O1yFx and try our new Go Trustees app featuring many our properties with trail networks and navigate Trustees’ trails with confidence. The app provides interactive smartphone mapping technology to provide real-time guidance and different trail loop options and many other features: http://bit.ly/ttorapp.
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of irreplaceable scenic, historic, and natural significance for the general public to enjoy. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees is the world’s oldest land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofits. Supported by more than 100,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 112 spectacular reservations – from working farms and historic homesteads and landscaped gardens, to community parks, barrier beaches, mountain vistas and woodland trials – located on more than 26,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. With hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, camps, concerts and events annually designed to engage all ages in its mission, The Trustees invite you to Find Your Place and get out and experience the natural beauty and culture our state has to offer. For more information, visit: www.thetrustees.org.