Science and Stewardship at Otter Brook Farm

June 24, 2013
A group of 8th graders weed the vegetable beds at Otter Brook Farm on Stewardship Day. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

8th graders weed vegetable beds on Stewardship Day at Otter Brook Farm. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Each month from September through May, 8th graders from the ConVal school district work together with Harris Center teacher-naturalist Laurel Swope, ecologist Rick Van de Poll, and farm manager Bryn Dumas to prepare for and conduct a scientific field investigation on the Otter Brook Farm property in Peterborough and Greenfield. Students study fish and macroinvertebrate populations, track mammals, identify trees, and survey for mushrooms.

In early June, the students wrapped up their year at Otter Brook by working alongside community volunteers from Eastern Mountain Sports, Keene State College, Antioch University New England, and the Harris Center on a morning of stewardship activities at the property. They were met with a cold rain, but that didn’t stop them from creating hiking trails, installing bird boxes, building a foot bridge, weeding and mulching the chestnut tree orchard, and working in the greenhouse.