Farm & Wilderness is a non-profit Quaker educational organization that has carried forward the traditions and programs launched in 1939 by the F&W co-founders, Kenneth and Susan Howard Webb. F&W became a nonprofit organization in 1973.
Ken and Susan Webb came to camping through their interest in education. The Webbs were influenced by the progressive education movement and the social justice philosophy of John Dewey, an American pragmatist born in Burlington, VT. In 1939, the Webbs started Timberlake, a Vermont summer camp for boys on Woodward Reservoir, on a piece of abandoned farmland. Soon, families who had sons attending Timberlake wanted a similar camp for their daughters, so Indian Brook summer camp for girls followed in 1941. As these boys and girls grew into teenagers, the idea of a co-ed work camp emerged, known as the Senior Work Camp. This was renamed in 1953 to Tamarack Farm. All the subsequent camp programs were born out of the dual emphasis embodied in the name Farm & Wilderness — the work required for life on the farm, and the adventure pursued on wilderness trips.
The Wilderness Corporation (now the Ninevah Foundation) was formed to purchase and preserve a large tract of land on Lake Ninevah near some F&W camps.
In 1962, Saltash Mountain summer camp (SAM) was formed on a portion of this property. Initially, SAM camp was intended for boys who wanted to live in a small community dedicated to hiking, canoeing and exploring wild areas. Later, SAM became a small, co-ed camp with a strong emphasis on community living and wilderness trips, and more recently drama and skits.
In 1965, Flying Cloud summer camp was formed and named in honor of an American Indian who was a much-loved counselor at Timberlake. At first, Flying Cloud’s program emphasized the values, skills and traditions of Native Americans. As collective discomfort grew over the years that F&W might be co-opting some aspects of native cultures, Flying Cloud’s emphasis shifted to a simple community living close to the land and natural rhythms.
In 1984, Barn Day Camp evolved for younger children, growing from a longstanding program for the children of summer camp staff. Now the BDC is a thriving camp serving children of staff, local communities and summer visitors to the Plymouth area.
F&W continues to grow. We’ve opened our new Tamarack Farm building to retreat groups, built a new Dairy Barn and Sustainable Resources Building, added lands in Chelsea, replaced the Woodward Reservoir Dam, raised a timber-frame Sugar House, added an innovative wood gasification plant, and most recently, installed solar panels.
All camps and programs follow the values inherent in our Quaker philosophy. These central values are simplicity, peacemaking, integrity, community, equity and service. These values underlie all the programs, activities and practices that are alive and well at F&W today.