Sharon, MA – The Trustees of Reservations today announced that the organization will be expanding its City Harvest Youth Program to provide farm-based education opportunities to area children this summer through a new partnership with the Boston-based Yawkey and Blue Hill Avenue Boys & Girls Clubs. Boys and Girls Club youth, ages 11 and 12, will have the opportunity to take part in educational outings at The Trustees’ Powisset Farm in Dover. The farm sits on 109 conserved acres and provides a perfect setting for farm-based learning with its farm fields, active 300-member Community Supported Agriculture program, weekly public farm stand, and network of woodland trails. The goal of the Trustees/Boys & Girls Club partnership is to foster a connection to the land for the next generation through hands-on, agricultural experiences. The program receives generous funding from Jim and Shirley Martin and Jubilee Christian Church, located in Mattapan and Stoughton.
Starting in July on Wednesdays, groups of 25-30 youth, ages 11-12 yrs old, will visit the farm, and learn about important topics such as farming basics and skills, native pollinators such as bees, and the health and nutritional benefits of locally grown food. The program will be led by Trustees Farm Educator Wil Bullock and seven high school-aged Trustees City Harvest Youth Program (formerly called the Agricultural Youth Corps) members, who come from Dorchester, Stoughton, Roslindale, Brockton, Randolph, Milton, and Norwood. The farm-based curriculum will be closely aligned with MCAS standards and will offer opportunities for kids to extend their summer experience into the fall and winter. City Harvest Youth members will run workshops for other members of the two Boys and Girls Clubs to teach them about the importance of our connection to the outdoors and environment and their potential role as future stewards of the land. The Trustees’ hope for the youth programs is to excite young people about the health and economic benefits of local food and open space – whether it’s a farm, an urban park, or a community garden. In addition, The Trustees hope to inspire program members and participants to share what they have learned with their friends, family, neighbors and community members.
More About The Trustees’ Summer Youth Job Programs
The Trustees currently operate and/or partner with several summer youth job programs around the state. In the Greater Boston area, the organization operates the City Harvest Youth Program, a farm-based program, and, new this year, the Charles River Youth Corps, which is focusing on environmental stewardship of the Charles River Greenway in Watertown, Waltham, and Newton. All program members are paid to participate for 25 hours per week, 12 weeks throughout the year, Tuesdays through Saturday or Sunday. This summer, members from both programs will meet periodically to share ideas and experiences, take field trips and workshops, and participate in “work exchanges” where they can learn about each other’s different jobs.
The youth training programs are the brainchild of Farm Educator Wil Bullock, who, before joining The Trustees, worked for the Boston-based Food Project and travelled the country speaking on behalf of the health and wellness benefits of locally grown food. In 2005, Mr. Bullock was featured in Boston Magazine for his inspirational leadership.
Partnerships established by Wil Bullock with the youth ministry at the Jubilee Christian Church, the Urban Ecology Institute, and The Boys & Girls Club help identify qualified youth that will contribute to and benefit from the program. Five of The Trustees’ City Harvest Youth Program members are returning to the program this summer from last year, with two new members joining the crew. Current City Harvest Youth program members come from area towns and neighborhoods including Dorchester, Stoughton, Roslindale, Brockton, Randolph, Norwood, and Milton and Charles River Youth Corps members come from Waltham, Lexington, Newton, Mattapan, and Dorchester.
For its first two seasons, the City Harvest Youth program has been based at The Trustees’ Powisset Farm in Dover and has operated for the summer growing season from June through August. In just two short years the program has offered farm-based educational programming for more than 250 children, accumulated more than 200 volunteer hours from partner organizations, and served hundreds people who are able to buy fresh produce from the youth at the Mattapan Farmers Market.
The Trustees are exploring the relocation and expansion of the program from Powisset Farm in Dover to another one of its properties, the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate’s Cherry Hill Farm in Canton. The Canton property is closer and more accessible by public transportation to the communities the program serves, providing an important link between urban communities and nearby open space.
The Trustees of Reservations Statewide
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you who love the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England, and believe in celebrating and protecting them for current and future generations. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees “hold in trust,” and care for, 102 spectacular “reservations” located on 26,000 acres in 73 communities throughout Massachusetts, over half of which are in the Greater Boston area. All reservations are open for the public to enjoy. Reservations range from working farms and historic homesteads to formal gardens, barrier beaches and barrens habitats, woodland trails, mountain vistas, and the Gold LEED-certified Doyle Center in Leominster, which serves as a green meeting space and gathering place for the conservation and local community. In addition, The Trustees offer hundreds of programs, workshops, and special events annually, many of which are free or discounted for Trustees members, as well as active Community Supported Agriculture programs on two of its many farms.
Furthermore, The Trustees are a leader in the conservation movement and have served as a model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. With communities and conservation partners, The Trustees work to address and support important conservation issues and efforts across the Commonwealth. In addition to our more than 100 reservations, The Trustees hold conservation restrictions on more than 16,000 acres of privately owned land and, with our partners, have assisted in the protection of an additional 16,000 acres.
Committed to sustainable conservation and stewardship, The Trustees are working to reduce their overall carbon footprint by caring for and managing their reservations in the “greenest” way possible and promoting healthy landscapes that can adapt to or resist the potential changes that climate change could bring. With these and other sustainable practices underway, including green building renovations and reducing mowing on all of its properties by 50%, The Trustees hope to engage and mobilize many more people to become a part of creating environmentally and economically sustainable communities.
As land and special places continue to be developed and open space is being fragmented at a rapid pace across the Commonwealth, time is running out to save the best of Massachusetts’ landscapes and landmarks. To find out how you can protect or preserve a special place in your community, become a partner, request a speaker, and/or become a Trustee through your volunteer, donor, or membership contributions, please call 781.784.0567, visit www.thetrustees.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.