a publication of the Merck Forest and Farmland Center
“Teaching, demonstrating & sustaining a working landscape”
In This Issue
Maple Celebration and Pancake Breakfast
March 22 and 23, 2014, 10 am - 2 pm Tickets sold at door: $10/adult, $5/ages 4 - 12, under age 4 FREE
Maple Celebration & Pancake Breakfast Hello and Farewell
Ephemerals Hikes Farm Staff Presents at NOFA-VT
3 2014 Apprenticeship Underway
5 2014 Donors
6 Mae and June at Farm Keeping in Touch, Letter from a Former Intern
About Us & Membership
Volunteers are always needed for this event: - Collect admission - Help flip flapjacks - Cook eggs and sausage - Clear tables - Direct vehicles
The Maple Celebration and Pancake Breakfast has been a part of Merck Forest for just under a decade now. This year it returns at the end of winter with all of its usual sweet appeal, and welcoming family-friendly fun.
Annual visitors to the breakfast know they can expect a delicious spread of pancakes, eggs, Merck’s sizzling pork breakfast sausage, If you are interested in hot coffee, juice, and, of course, Merck volunteering for this event, Forest’s house-made Vermont-certified please contact Amy at organic maple syrup. The celebration boasts firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802.394.7836. other happenings as well. A variety of children’s activities will be held: story time at the farm, hay bale obstacle course in the barn, a tree tapping demonstration, and if the weather permits, we will be boiling in the sap house. There may even be newborn lambs in the barn! Wagon or sleigh rides will convey visitors from the parking lot to the sap house.
In Remembrance of Victoria McInerney, Trustee
Our staff looks forward to hosting another great event this year. We hope to see you there, and, please call 802.394.7836 or email email@example.com if you have questions, or would like to volunteer.
Hello and Farewell, A Note From the Director
By Tom Ward, Executive Director
3270 Route 315, PO Box 86, Rupert, Vermont 05768 www.merckforest.org p. 802.394.7836
Will Bunten of Hardwick, VT will be joining our staff in May as the Forest Operations Manager. He has an extensive background in managing larger sugarbushes, training seasonal employees to work in maple groves, and for the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska. Will and his wife Kathy are both University of Vermont graduates and will live in Rupert with their two young daughters.
Sarah Ullman departed from Merck at the end of January and will be missed for her positive presence, development of our educational program offerings, and her leadership in creating the apprenticeship program. We wish the best going forward to this very talented educator.
Viewing Spring Ephemerals By Melissa Carll, Communications Coordinator
e phem e ral
When the trees are still barren of leaves, but the air and ground have started to warm, spring’s ephemeral plants begin to grow. : transitory or fading Bloodroot, trout lily, trillium, blue cohosh, violets, Dutchmen’s quickly; lasting a breeches, spring beauties, and more are the first to awaken, short time. growing up from their blanket of last autumn’s leaves. Merck Forest is home to many of these lovely flowers, but only for a short time! The end of April into May, you may spot a variety of spring ephemerals. Here is a list of good routes to explore on your quest to see these vernal plants. The Wildlife Trail covers some of the lowest lying topography on the property, along several streams. This loop is great for flowers, and close to the main parking area. The stretch along East Hollow Road (easily accessed from the South Gate) follows the brook, and many ephemerals are located between the trail and the water. The Silviculture Trail, a relatively flat path, is another good place for early spring flowers, just keep an eye out for the sap lines!
Map illustrated by Melissa Carll
For a longer loop, follow Old Town Road to Lodge and connect with Kouwenhoven Road. Look for ephemerals as you go, and then loop back to Old Town Road. The loop from the farm to Stone Lot provides a variety of different habitats. Around the shelter definitely keep your eyes peeled from some great spring plants.
Beebe Pond Trail, though at a higher elevation, follows a stream down to both Beebe Pond and Rasey Pond. Not only are these good areas for ephemerals, listen for spring peepers too!
A Weekend Away: Farm Staff Visits NOFA Vermont By Colene Reed, Assistant Farm Manager The long winter allows the Vermont farmer to take time to plan for the next growing season, and to fill their mind with new knowledge full of inspiration and innovation. Merck sent four staff members to the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) Winter Conference for just such a purpose. The apprentices, Rose, Sarah and Tyler attended NOFA’s courses on pest identification, pasture health, farm planning, and many other workshops. It was a weekend event, and they lodged with the residents at Shelburne Farms, allowing for them to connect with peers in their field and see another educational farm. On Saturday, Colene, the assistant farm manager, presented a workshop called “Everything You Need to Know About Pastured Meat Rabbits”. Her presentation covered topics such as breeding schedules, pasture pen construction, and backyard processing.
A mother rabbit, Sugar Snap, and her four kits were present for handson interaction during Colene’s presentation. These rabbit also made an appearance at the Children’s Conference on Sunday morning. Colene presented “Good Morning Rabbits” to start off Sunday, and the apprentices led a fun animal tracking activity with the children. Get ready to see more and more pastured rabbits feeding families happy and healthy meat!
Photograph by Colene Reed
The workshop was well attended, and it was noted that Colene’s “enthusiasm for rabbits is contagious.”
Colene raises her rabbits at Merck Forest. Last summer they moved around the meadow in front of the Caretaker’s Cabin, grazing on fresh grass. Until it warms up this spring, the rabbits will continue to live with the chickens in the coop.
2014 Apprenticeship Underway What Will the Apprentices Learn This Year?
Meet Sarah, Rose, and Tyler Sarah Jackson
By Sarah Ullman, Education Director
Sarah is spending 2014 apprenticing at Merck Forest; she is continuing an agricultural education that she began in her home state of Georgia several years ago. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2013 having studied horticulture, sustainable agriculture, and English. Throughout her time at UGA, she also worked at botanical gardens in Ontario, organic farms in Ireland and Georgia (the state), and a folk arts school garden in North Carolina (where she gained interest in woodturning and banjo pickin’).
During their yearlong apprenticeship, MFFC’s apprentices learn by experiencing the concepts and practices of sustainable land management, while also having a hand in MFFC’s day-to-day operations and educational programs.
Areas of Learning • Farm planning and production • Forest management and trail maintenance
Southern-grown Sarah is exploring northward to learn more about sustainable land management at Merck, as well as to get familiar with animal husbandry. She hopes to integrate it into her own prospective farm plan and complete the essential animal-plant-foodcommunity cycle of comprehensive agriculture.
• Maple sugaring • Theories and practices of place- based education • Leading school and volunteer groups
• Involvement with community events, workshops, and outreach
Tyler spent the first 23 years of his life on the California coastline. His connection to the natural world was forged at an early age while helping out in his family’s garden and going on regular trips to the Sierra Nevadas. In the mountains he spent many summer days digging, climbing, and exploring the wonders of the landscape. In 2010, Tyler obtained a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, emphasizing in agroecology and sustainable agriculture. While in school he taught an organic gardening class, managed an oncampus student garden, and worked on food policy at both the campus and state levels. Tyler moved to New England in early 2012. He spent two years working with the Student Conservation Association in New Hampshire, teaching environmental science in elementary schools, leading outdoor programming with teens, and building trails across the state. He’s extremely interested in the integrated farm and forest systems found at Merck, and he is very excited to share these techniques with the public. When he’s off the clock, you’re likely to find Tyler running the Merck trails, practicing yoga, strumming his guitar, or wrestling with a crossword puzzle.
• Networking opportunities and field trips to other farm and forest-based organizations in the region.
Rose Karabush Rose arrived here at MFFC fresh from her first season of full-time farming as an apprentice at an organic vegetable CSA in Stanfordville, NY. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and after some traveling and an adventure or two, attended college in Montreal. During her time in the Great White North, she studied anthropology, worked with on-campus food system projects, deepened her appreciation for maple syrup, and ran off to woods or farms whenever possible. Thanks to an epiphany--and the embarrassing number of YouTube permaculture documentaries that triggered it--Rose decided to become a farmer, and her experience as a farm apprentice in the Hudson Valley last year sealed the deal. She’s particularly looking forward to working with Merck’s diverse animal residents, spending quality time in the woods, and learning more about farm-based education.
In Recognition of the 2013 Donors Susan & Louis Raveson Abraham Kathleen Achor Joanne Agopovich The Allen Family Charitable Fund Robert Alexander Wendy Anthony & H. Bear David G. Ashton Lee & Sunny Allen Keld & Mary Alstrup William, Jennifer & Sarah Amatruto Chip Ams Deb Anderson, Salem Central School Ms. Katherine B. Arthaud The Aspen at Manchester Nate Baker & Ann Gregory Laura Baldwin & JC Sawyer Frederick W. Baum Florence Barad Philip Bedard Philip & Janie Bell Robert L. Bergman, Sr. Darla J. Belevich Alan & Leslie Beller Fiona Bennie, Chris Underwood & Alistair Bennie-Underwood Bennington Early Childhood Center Ralph & Dale Berghello Molly Beverage & Paul Elsholz Phyllis Binkley Alan Binnick, M. D Jared Birmingham Robert & Elisa Bildner Axel & Donna Blomberg • Axel & Donna Blomberg Mr. & Mrs. Robert V. Bode Judy P. Boehlert Paul M. Borghard & Karen Weinberg John & Leslie Bose Bruce & Shirley Boselli Diane & John Bossung Timothy Bouchard Greg Bown Russell Bradley Harry Brett Amy & Paul Bremel Joe & Caren Lee Brenman Sally & Tim Brown Donald & Gail Brodie Leslie Brodie & Janet Hurley Michelle Brower Steve Brown Charles F. Brummitt Warren T. & Betty Brundige • Carl R. Bucholt Arlette Bucknall Ms. Judith M. Buechner Andrew & Julie Burden Jerry Burke
William Burrall Burr & Burton Academy Ann P. Cabot Donald Campbell Hoa Campbell Reeve & Essie Cantus Phil & Gloria Caramico Bruce & Marion Carll Deborah & John Cave Jean & Gene Ceglowski Chip & Kit Chamberlain • Chip & Kit Chamberlain Phil & Linda Chapman • Phil & Linda Chapman Kat Chang Charles E. Jr. & Jane Childs • Charles E. Jr. & Jane Childs William P. Childs Austin & Gillian Chinn • Austin & Gillian Chinn • Austin & Gillian Chinn Gregor Clark James R. & Dawn Clark • Ann Clay Barbara J. Clune • James Coe & Karen Scharff Kathleen & Douglas Colson Mr. & Mrs. Ernie Compain Michael Connolly James & Faith Cooney Tom & Lynn Costa Ed & Judy Cotter Simeon Crosier Barb & Gary Cunningham Russell & Julie Currie Geoffrey A. Currier Virginia Daring Jane Davies & John LaVecchia Caverly G. Day • Nancy DeBona Andrew Deland & Carol Ann Hawkins Carlo & Susan DeRege Michael Depoy Bill & Joanne Dix Sergine & Julian Dixon • John Dojka & Janet Britt Mr. & Mrs. Jeremy H. Dole Mark & Suzy Donovan Ms. Jennifer & Dr. Philip DuBois Paul L. Dufresne Patricia Dupree Anne Dustin John P. Dyer, Sr. & Sharon Dyer • Bill Eberle Patty Eisenhaur Suzanne Edwards
Ted & Mary Emerson • Mr. John Ezell & Ms. Ellen Maloney Olivia & John Farr Austin S. Felis Bob & Nancy Faesy Robert B. Ferguson Maurice J. Ferris, Jr. Sue & Ed Finegan Marshall Forman Patricia & Robert Foster • Eric & Mary Frewin Dr. Alan Brown & Ms. Linda Foxworthy Lisa Frigo Mr. & Mrs. A. Corwin Frost Claudia & David Fulton John Furman & Family
Richard Hittle HN Williams Store Claude & Janet Hoard Mark J. Hobart Georgine & Steve Holman William Hornby Robert & Beverly Houghton Ron & Anne Houser Dr. Russell F. Housman Ms. Barbara A. Howland Karen Huerta Elsie Hunt • Dick & Virginia Hulett William W. Hoyt Kelly & Webber Hudson I Do Foundation
Gregory Gall Mr. & Mrs. John L. Gardner Bob & Cheryl Gasperetti Thelma Georgeson Edward Germon GE United Way Campaign Alec & Mary Gerster Robert & Salley Gibney George & Beth Gibson Mr. & Mrs. A. W. Gilbert Betty Gilbert Clinton Gilbert, Jr. George & Barbara Gilchrest • Martha & Gary Gilgallon • Jim Gish & Peggy Burns Irwin Goldberg Kim & Rick Goldstein Ruth Goldstone Catherine Gordon • Karen Gordon & Frederick Cooper Eileen & Jonathan Grant Caitlin Greatrex Emil G. Gress Susan Griffing Bob & Deb Haas Kathleen & Theodore Hahn Telly Halkias & Angela Wingate Jim & Marilyn Hand Gemma Hanlon Rob Haren & David Bassani Ronald Harmsen John & Janice Harrington Jim Hart Tom Hart Mrs. Francis W. Hatch George & Marina Hatch Whitney & Elizabeth Hatch William & Lisanne Hegman Richard & Martha Heilemann Joanne Hekkers Joy & Richard Hill
Richard & Ann Jackson Barbara & Eric Jaffe Jensen Family Ann & Paul John Hunter Johns & Maureen Sager Hugh A. Johnson Mr. Bill Jolly Rachel Jolly & Adam Walker Roger D. Jones, CPA Jeff Johnson Bob & Pat Johnston Louise Jones Robert K. & A. Joyce Jones Peter & Claudia Kinder Phil & Mindy Kirstein Gary Klee, Terry Peters & Family Jared Klein Frank & Lynn Kling Pamela Koch Regina Kohlhepp Tom Kopp & Gail Smallwood Derek Kouwenhoven & Family Gerrit & Ellie Kouwenhoven • Gerrit & Ellie Kouwenhoven Kirsten Kouwenhoven Janice Kugel • Charles Kunz Tim Lang & Lisa Lieberman Juliette & Stallworth Larson Mrs. Eleanor S. Lea James Lee, Jr. Jim & Pat Lee • Ellen & Roger Leeds Nicholas & Rebecca Leonard Frances Levine John & Cynthia Lhost Tammara & Christopher Lincoln Alan & Terry Lindsey Robert A. Lloyd
Many thanks to you all! George & Linda Long • George & Linda Long Anne J. Lourie Lisa & Joe Lovering Ray & Hallie Lovett Sally Lupfer Steven & Linda Luz-Alterman Mike & Heidi Lynn William Lyons & Laura Fitch Heather MacLeay Bud & Joanne Maddox Pam & Josh Levy Magnuson John Malcolm Richard & Katherine Malley Elizabeth Malone Jane & John Marino Shona Marston & David Powsner Stephen & Tracey Mathyas Jon & Kimberly Matthewson Robert Mast Karen Mayberry Bo & Megan Mayhew-Bergman Robert & Marilyn Mazur Mr. & Mrs. Robert McCafferty Lee & Marion McChesney Levering & Judi McCormick John McDonnell John & Victoria McInerney • John & Victoria McInerney Matt McGinley Andrew J. Melton, Jr. Josephine A. Merck Kate & Al Merck Wilhelm Merck Margaret Mertz • Margaret Mertz Mark & Eleanor Mesler Metzger Family Naomi Meyer & Ron Renoni T. C. & R. G. Meyer • C. Edward & Laura P. Midgley Helene A. Minugh Nicholas Miller Joanna Mintzer & Reverend Dr. Donald Ferrell • Richard & Virginia Molea Elizabeth Moseley Colleen Moseman & Bill Murphy Jan & Joe Mount Ms. Marion C. Mueller Mary Ellen & Jim Mullen • Cynthia & Donald Murphy Kim & Steve Murphy
Pam Nalefski Bruce & Patricia Nelson Jeff Nelson & Paul Mahan Josh Ness Newmont Slate Co., Inc. Axel & Naneen Neubohn David A. & Susan F. Nichols The Northshire Bookstore Arthur Norton & Karen Noyce N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation • Cheryl & James O’Connor Edward C. Oelsner Susan O’Leary Orvis Amy Palmer Dr. & Mrs. Theodore F. Paprocki Ms. Margaret H. Parker John & Marian Pelton Richard & Suzanne Penney Herb & Faith Perkins Melissa Perkins • Mr. John R. Person Chris & Mike Peters • Lorraine Peters George Peterson III Katie Pierotti Mr. & Mrs. Karl Pfeiffer Melissa Pflug Karl & Joanne Pfluger The Phantom Laboratory Jennifer & William V.N. Philip John A. Pless John & Catherine Plonski Jody Plummer Errol & Anita Pomerance Rev. Penelope Poor Craig & Donna Powers Mike & Barbara Powers Remus Preda & Lisa Randles Prospect Rehabilitation • Bruce & Liz Putnam • Bruce & Liz Putnam Valerie & Peter Radford Rick Raff Jayne Della Ratta David Read Signa Lynch Read Readsboro Lions Club Pen & Barbara Reed Robert & Elise Redmond
• Donation made in memory of D. Gordon Ashton • Donation made in memory of John Harrington
Please excuse any errors or omissions on this list, and please call or email when a correction needs to be made. Nicholas Reeder Stan & Loretta Reisman Charles & Marcia Reiss Roberta Reynolds • Mr. & Mrs. Donald K. Richards r. k. Miles, Inc. Jack, John & Charlotte Roach Madeline & Charles Rockwell • Madeline & Charles Rockwell Christina & Kevin Roe Craig A. Roods David & Barbara Rogers • Adam Roy Mrs. Thomas S. Royster Joana & Ari Rudiakov Dr. Joseph Ruggiero & Dr. Howard Marcus Steven Russo Patricia Sabotka • Susan Sargent & Tom Peters Sheafe Satterthwaite Sally Savage Carlin W. Scherer Elizabeth Sherman Janie & George Schildge Anne & Alvin Schlesinger Bob & Martha Schoenemann Gene & Lorraine Schoor Jeremy Schrauf Ken & Kathy Schurzky Robert & Mary Schwartz David & Mary Lynn Schwenker Douglas & Joan Shaw Nancy Shay George Sheldon Mr. & Mrs. Peter L. Sheldon Valerie H. Sheldon Paul M. Sipple Sky High Adventures, LLC Damon Smith & Polly Parugr Michael Smith Ray & Joanne Smith Tom & Sylvia Smith Steven Snook Bob & Joann Somers Jennifer Speers Gay & Roger Squire John & Susan Stager Mark Stannard Mr. Charles Stelling Glen Stevens Joseph Stevens Catherine Stewart Erica & Keith Stichweh Mr. & Mrs. David B. Stratton Kate Sullivan Jim Sullivan & Leslie Addison
• Donation made in memory of Gerrit Kowenhouven • Donation made in memory of John Merwin
SUNY Adirondack Athletic Fund Bill Sussdorf Stefan Swicker & Duncan Savage Diane Syverson Mr. & Mrs. Robert D. Taggart • Frederick F. Taylor Priscilla P. Thomas Richard Thomson William & Mary Beth Toms Ed Treanor Robert & Sarah Treat Nancy Truettner of The Truettner Foundation Eleanor & James F. Tyler Allen & Minga Turner Cornelia Tuttle James Tyler Walter & Christine Urban • Mr. David Ullman Carol & Dave Vallett Robert & Mary Anne Van Degna The Vermont Country Store Carolyn A. Wade Katharine & Jerry Wall John & Ruth Ward Judy Warren Phil & Janet Warren Gary Warzocha Melissa Wehner Fred C. Weinmann Wells Village School Frederick & Constance West W. H. Shaw Insurance Agency, Inc. Elizabeth Wheaton-Smith Ruth F. White John G. Whitman, Jr. Bob Whitney Marilyn Whitney Serena H. Whitridge Jeff & Kathy Wilde Corinna Wildman • Corinna Wildman Timothy & Kathleen Wiley • Stephen T. Williams Catherine Williamson Kay Williamson Penelope P. Wilson Albert & Jacqueline Wolff • Robert & Margaret Woolmington • Amy Wright & William Livingston • Mark Youndt Sylvia J. & David R. Zeglen •
Mae and June Working Through the Spring
Colene posing with June and Mae during the winter (above photo). The Belgian team worked wonderfully during sleigh rides this winter, and in the picture to the right, they had just returned from dragging logs out of the woods with the farm staff.
Mae and June, two Belgian draft horses, arrived on the farm in December, and the Merck Staff put them right to work. The girls are on loan from Ken Leech of True Love Holsteins, in Pawlet, Vt., and Merck is grateful for the opportunity to lease such a reliable team. The mares are well-trained and up for any task they are put to. They distribute hay around the barnyard, drag logs out of the woods, and pull sleighs with power and grace. They will be helping out at the farm through the spring. Visitors, keep a look for the team the next time you visit the farm.
Photograph by Melissa Carll
Photograph by Melissa Carll
By Colene Reed, Assistant Farm Manager
Keeping in Touch, Letter from a Former Intern Contributed by Melissa (Pline) Brown, past intern & employee at Merck Forest While I grew up on a farm in Michigan, it took a detour to Merck Forest and Farmland Center to show me a path to becoming a farmer myself. I arrived at Merck in June of 2000 for a three month internship through the Student Conservation Association. I had recently graduated with a biology major, and I had an idea of ecology work. It was Merck’s 3,100 acres of nature that drew me to work at the non-profit, but it was the farm that, soon after my arrival, really pulled my intrigue.
Exciting things were happening for Merck during my time there. The wind turbine went up. We started going to a few farmers’ markets, something Merck hadn’t been doing at least in the recent times. We planted an apple orchard. We built more greenhouses and a shed. The farm was full of the whole range of animals. And more projects were on the horizon, like the new maple syrup house and a large blueberry planting.
My childhood farm was a large feedlot cattle and commodity crop farm, and I’d always been intimidated by the big machinery and the skill needed to keep them running. I was more content to work my small garden and raise a few animals for the local 4-H fair. At Merck, though, I quickly realized there was a completely different and viable style of farming out there (direct market and lower tech), and it felt right from the start. The diverse organic farm model of Merck gave me a full and complete experience every day I was there. Ken Smith and Ray Pratt were leading the farm at the time and were incredible mentors to me on this Melissa during the sugaring season. She new way of farming. Construction, assisted in the old 12,000 tap sugarbush, which was a much bigger operation, than maintenance, planting, harvesting, the current, gravity-fed system. sugaring, trail work, leading school groups, marketing, planning - I didn’t absorb nearly enough of what there was to learn, even though I stayed on another year as part of the farm staff.
After my time at Merck, I headed to grad school to study horticulture at North Carolina State University. Agriculture grad school often leads people to careers assisting farmers. But, I’d gotten such a strong foundation in farming from Merck, as well as the farming bug, that I knew I ultimately wanted to farm myself.
After graduating, my husband and I started our own small diverse organic farm, Milk and Honey Farm in Yadkinville, North Carolina. We now produce most of our own food with enough to share with customers through a CSA program and at a farmers’ market, which is also our fulltime living. We also offer farm stays to visitors, mostly through WWOOF, to allow others to experience our style of homestead and maybe someday even lead them to farming, as Merck did for me.
Melissa Brown and her husband operate their own organic farm in Yadkinville, North Carolina, Milk and Honey Farm. You can follow her farm blog: www.themilkandhoneyfarm.blogspot.com Melissa’s letter will be posted on the Merck blog, along with another photo of her during her summer at MFFC.
Membership at Merck: Join or Renew Today! Please, help us continue to serve our mission of teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland. As a member, you support our educational programs and maintenance of over 3,100 acres of land and 30 miles of trails. Thank you for your help!
Please fill out and mail: Merck Forest & Farmland Center PO Box 86, Rupert, VT 05768
Additional Contribution: Address:
Total Amount Enclosed: Payment: Cash/Check/Visa or MasterCard
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Member benefits include:
Merck Forest and Farmland Center is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to teach and demonstrate the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland.
20% discount on cabin rentals and camping 10% discount on Merck’s Certified Organic Maple Syrup 10% discount on select Visitor Center merchandise 10% discount on workshops Copies of our seasonal newsletter, the RidgeLine
We also offer recreational opportunities for individuals and families, encouraging people to become good stewards of the land. Donations are appreciated and members are encouraged. Advisory Council Kathleen Achor
Board of Trustees Bob Allen
Margaret Mertz, Vice President
Phil Chapman, Treasurer
Madeline Rockwell, Secretary
Austin Chinn, President
Melissa Carll, Communications Coordinator
Tyler Dallas, Resource Technician
Jesse Gelinas, Visitor Center Assistant
In Remembrance of Victoria By Austin Chinn, President of the Board of Trustees We are sad to report the death of one of our long-time trustees, Victoria (Vicki) McInerney, who succumbed after a 13-year battle with pulmonary disease. Vicki was the chair of our investment committee, and she oversaw Merck Forest’s assets with intelligence and great diligence. The Berkshire Bank’s investment team paid tribute to Vicki’s steady compass and wise advice in the bank’s efforts on our behalf. Vicki was passionate about all creatures of the natural world, and she was a keen observer of their habits and lives, particularly birds and insects. With that in mind, we are thinking of an appropriate memorial on the property to Vicki, which recognizes Merck Forest’s gratitude to her.
Tim Hughes-Muse, Farm Programs Manager Kathryn Lawrence, Assistant to the Director Amy Malsbenden, Visitor Center Manager
She was a valuable friend who will be missed.
Colene Reed, Assistant Farm Manager Chad Virkler, Sugarmaker Tom Ward, Executive Director
RidgeLine layout, illustrations, and graphic design by Melissa Carll
PO Box 86, Rupert, Vermont 05768
Printed on 100% recycled paper
Sleigh Rides Now - end of March
Saturday Social Knitting Circle March 15, April 19 1 pm - 4 pm
Maple Celebration &
Pancake Breakfast March 22 & 23 10 am - 2 pm
Farm Chores April 19 - June 24 Saturdays, 2 pm - 4 pm
Sheep Shearing Workshop April 27
8:30 am - 4 pm
Go for a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the farm and through Merck’s forest. Groups are welcome to rent the 12-person sleigh, or couples can go for a ride in the Sweetheart Sleigh. Offered through the winter, but reservations and payment are required at least 24 hours in advance. Call for more info and availability.
Beat cabin fever. The monthly knitting circle continues into the spring. Bring your questions, knitting challenges, or a new project you’ve been wanting to tackle. All experience levels are welcome to join. FREE
Spring Events & Workshops
The Maple Celebration boasts a delicious spread of pancakes, eggs, Merck’s breakfast sausage, and Vermont-certified organic maple syrup. A variety of children’s activities will be held, a tree tapping demonstration, and newborn lambs in the barn! Wagon or sleigh rides between parking lot to the sap house. Tickets sold at door. $10/adult, $5/child age 4 - 12, under age 4 are free. Vo l u n t e e r s N e e d e d !
Put on your boots! Have you ever fed pigs, or given water to sheep? How about harnessing and moving horses to pasture? Find the eggs in the chicken coop, and wash them up. Farm Chores gives families the chance to learn about the farm routine and the animals--it’s a great interactive experience. Call to sign up, groups are limited to ten people. 802.394.7836. $2/person.
The Vermont Sheep and Goat Breeders Association is holding a sheep shearing class at MFFC. Participants, beginners and intermediate, will have a hands-on experience shearing sheep with the guidance of professional shearers. All aspects of shearing will be discussed. For detailed information and registration, please look on www.merckforest.org under the News and Events page.