Massachusetts Summer Camp Teaches Youth Farming Skills

Appleton Farms in Ipswich is open to young campers this summer

A Massachusetts summer camp is giving young learners farm-based education.

Appleton Farms in Ipswich is owned and operated by the Trustees of Reservations, the world's first land preservation organization. This year, the farm property is welcoming campers.

"Appleton is an amazing setting for all of our programming throughout the year, and it was a natural fit to bring a camp here," said Chris Ward, General Manager of Appleton Farms.

The hands-on camp gives kids a chance to understand their food system.

"They're kind of like being young farmers," said camp director Pilar Redmond.

Redmond says children — ranging from ages 5 to 13 — are encouraged to put aside phones and video games to make connections with the natural world.

"Being able to spend time in this kind of environment where they can just have fun and learn and be in the garden and be with animals and just be kids is really, really important," Redmond said.

Campers learn how to plant, harvest vegetables, and use those ingredients in the kitchen.

"We're having fun on the farm, cooking and playing with the animals," said 11-year-old Thomas Politano.

Interacting with those farm animals is a big highlight for the kids.

"I love animals and I love doing stuff with them," said Isabella Petrizzi, age 9.

It's an opportunity to unwind and take advantage of those months outside the traditional school classroom.

"That time in nature is really helpful for us," Redmond said. "It's helpful for our stress level, it's helpful for us physically, and socially and emotionally."

The Trustees offer thousands of programs a year, helping connect Massachusetts residents to conservation land and its importance to future generations. Programs range from guided tours of historic homes to yoga classes and hikes. To check out a calendar of things to do, click here.

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