Revisiting Our History With a Modern Lens

At Farm & Wilderness, we occasionally revisit our history with a modern lens to ensure that we honor ourFarmAndWilderness-196 roots, while remaining sensitive to current dynamics. In that light, F&W is reviewing potential cultural appropriation in the name of our Indian Brook camp, and we have started a conversation about a possible name change. We respect how words and policies may affect underrepresented communities. F&W founders Ken and Susan Webb wrote in their book, “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams,” that a Mohawk camper and staff, Wakio Rassenes, shared his tribe’s culture with Timberlake campers. The place where these skills and practices were shared was a location called Indian Village. “Because Indian Village was south of the camp near the brook which came down…to the lake, the brook became Indian Brook, and that’s how the girl’s camp got its name,” according to the Webb’s book published in 1989.

Knowing the history of IB’s name is helpful. In the summer of 2016, IB staff raised the issue and composed a letter to share with the Board of Trustees. Subsequent Facebook posts generated lively discussions on the topic.

The Board asked F&W’s Management Team to lead a process and discussion of a possible name change and evaluate the impact any outcome may have on current and future IB communities and alumni. At Indian Brook-Dark Meadow Reunion in September, Executive Director Rebecca Geary led a “threshing session” that attracted about 40 people invested in IB’s history and future. Similar discussions occurred at Harvest Weekend 2016, Ice Cutting and one is planned for Spring Planting 2017. Participants are asked to be open and to listen to various opinions, without trying to convince others. F&W wants to offer a safe space where candor can flourish.

Here are some perspectives raised during these heartfelt conversations: Let’s look carefully at reasons for a name change and how much this place goes beyond a name… What is the point of view of the Indian community? We should not look at this issue in a vacuum …Is “Indian” our word to use as a mostly white community? How does it look to someone new to F&W?

Similar conversations will be facilitated this Summer at the camp and at fair by Rebecca Geary and Megan Chamberlain, IB Director. After we gather and weigh the perspectives offered, the Management Team will make a recommendation to the Board at its October 2017 meeting.

F&W is listening and informing our community over the next year. To join the conversation, visit or email [email protected]


Posted in Indian Brook Tagged , ,

Summer Camp at an Organic Farm

Day camp and overnight camp at an organic farm is different from many summer camps. Our working organic farm is one aspect that makes Farm & Wilderness summer camp stand out.

Kneeling Tamarack Farmers pull carrots out of the soil, barely brushing off the dirt before tasting theFarmAndWilderness-171 sweet flavor. Day campers delightedly manage potato bugs in their organic garden with pails of sudsy water. And Indian Brook campers give their pigs a Spa Day—complete with a buttermilk massage.

The farm distinguishes F&W summer camps and extends into many activities, from spinning wool to churning milk in jam jars. In an age of digital connections, the farm gives kids a space to negotiate their social place face-to-face. Ordinarily distanced from physical work, campers find joy
in chores. Somehow, amid the sweat and hay-pricked arms, the work of hoisting bales into wagons helps young people connect with the land, the seasons and each other.

Embedded in their work are other lessons: the math of measuring and tallying the weekly harvests. The science of seeds, composting, and new sprouts. The responsibility learned by high school students mentoring young campers on BDC farm stand days, as they sell lettuce, green beans, and raspberries.

The farm provides the raw materials for many art projects and meals. Harvested flowers become yellow and orange hues in sun-soaked bottles, naturally dying the fiber, or garnishes on dinner plates. Campers see the origins of their food as they learn how to collect eggs, wash them in the Timberlake kitchen and crack them into bowls to create a homemade meal.

Many a camper discovers solace and companionship, curled up against
the rhythmic, steady breathing of a farm animal. The tinny music of milk squirted into metal pails is part of barn chores. So are the quiet moments of the farm, the daily rituals of filling buckets with water, coffee cans with sweet feed and listening to a choir of munching, content animals at dusk.






Posted in Uncategorized Tagged , , ,

We All Eat, We All Grow

Our relationship with food is a foundation of what we do at Farm & Wilderness and is directlyTimberlake Kitchen connected to the skills we learn and the values we practice. Campers learn self-reliance by growing their own food, packing and carrying their food on trips, and helping to prepare meals. We live our values when we support the diversity of diets amongst us – those we are born into and those we choose; all are part of a person’s identity and merit respect. This may take the form of awareness in a buffet line not to cross-contaminate neighboring foods, or in what we eat on wilderness trips because of one member’s allergy. Being intentional about values and skills creates a rich and healthy relationship with food that is supported by our organic farming program.

At Timberlake, we focus on project-based learning. Campers become motivated by choosing their projects and seeing it through to its completion. For example, in our Barns and Gardens program last summer, campers chose to make pizzas from ingredients grown at F&W. This included grinding TL-grown cornmeal for the base, and adding our tomatoes, vegetables and mozzarella cheese made from our cows’ milk. It was baked in a cob oven and enjoyed as a group.

PLAN1405-Sheet A2-11X17 copy copyWe may not all choose to specialize in the skills of food production, but we all eat! Our dining hall or “Upper Lodge” is where we eat, clean, sing and celebrate. Our kitchen is the heart of this space. Providing meals that are made from scratch three times a day requires a lot of hard work—as does cleaning up! At F&W we believe:

Work Is Love Made Visible
and we honor this by making time for each cabin to contribute. For some campers, this is not enough, and they will wake before 6 a.m. to come up and volunteer in the kitchen. We are excited that the renovation of the kitchen is a priority for the Thrive for 75 Capital Campaign. The new kitchen will also receive upgrades to serve the diversity and plurality of dietary needs. Everyone works, everyone counts, we all grow—we thrive together!

– Tulio Browning, Timberlake Director



Posted in Timberlake, Uncategorized Tagged , , , ,

Pancakes in the Park

Pancakes In the park

Who’s hungry?

Enjoy some Vermont maple syrup and mingle with F&W directors, campers, alumni, and friends this April in NewPancakesInThePark York and Massachusetts.  Feel free to bring a friend!

April 29, we’ll be in Prospect Park in NYC. 1-4pm

RSVP for Prospect Park here! RSVP for Prospect Park here!


Enter the park from 3rd Street and walk to the Picnic House, go down the sloped meadow to just before where the path enters the woods. GPS: 40.664815, -73.970495

April 30, we’ll be at Danehy Park in Cambridge. 1-4pm

RSVP for Danehy Park here! RSVP for Danehy Park here!

Enter the park from the Sherman Street entrance, pass the bathrooms and the children’s playground. We’ll be at a picnic table 100 feet into the park. GPS: 42.388602, -71.134477





Posted in News & Announcements, Uncategorized

Spring Planting


Turn soil; transplant seedlings; sow new seeds; open camp buildings; buck and stack fallen trees. With camp rightSpringPlanting-001 around the corner, there is plenty of fun/work for everyone. Lodging is available at the Tamarack Farm farmhouse and cabins. With hot days and cool evenings, it is a perfect time to play soccer at the fairgrounds, go for a hike up to the ridge, or test out the lake for a swim. Once again, Saturday evening you’ll find yourself tapping your toes to at the contra dance.

May 26-29, 2017

Before you register please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for detailed information about the weekend including fees and our cancellation policy.

Download a Chaperone form

Download a General Weekend Schedule


For more information about particular work weekends, please email Melanie Gander [email protected] or call Erik Biornstad (802) 422-3761 x221


Posted in News & Announcements, Uncategorized Tagged , , ,


If your camper is arriving/leaving Farm & Wilderness on our Charter Bus or if your camper is traveling by commercial transportation and needs a van pickup/drop-off, please read through the information provided in the links below before logging in to sign up for transportation. Travel reservations can be made online at through our registration portal.  If your camper will be traveling by car you do not need to make travel arrangements. Please call Erik with any questions at  802-422-3761 ext. 221


If you anticipate having to make changes to your camper’s travel plans, please give us as much advance notice as possible. The coordination of travel for so many campers is challenging, without advanced notice we may be unable to accommodate last minute changes.

If you have additional questions about camper transportation, please contact Erik via email at [email protected] or call 802.422.3761 ext. 221.

Travel Details

Posted in News & Announcements, Uncategorized Tagged , , ,

Farm & Wilderness gives me hope in these challenging times.

Farm&WildernessThriveThe mountains, lakes, and fields of Farm & Wilderness aren’t the only things that feel far away these days, as I constantly check my phone and computer, obsessively following the news on Twitter, Facebook, and It seems like F&W’s core values – environmental stewardship, peace-making, integrity, community, equity – are under constant attack, along with communities, rights, and principles we cherish. Like many of you, I’m sure, I worry about my children’s futures and the country and planet they will inherit.

And yet, Farm & Wilderness is one of the things that gives me hope iBeccan these challenging times. When I was a teenager and young adult, Farm & Wilderness taught me lessons I still use today, as we continue to strive for peace, justice, and equity:

  • In the garden and doing work projects, I learned that we accomplish more when we work together.
  • Building trails and testing the water quality in Woodward Reservoir, I learned that I could help preserve our environment.
  • In Silent Meeting, Town Meeting, and even staff meeting, I learned to listen carefully, speak clearly, and craft solutions that work for everyone.
  • Living, working, and playing with people of different races, class backgrounds, genders, and sexualities, I learned how essential it is to bridge our differences and create equitable communities, no matter how hard that work can be.

I sent my children to Farm & Wilderness because I wanted them to experience the pleasures and joys I found there – the incomparable taste of a just-harvested carrot, the excitement of standing on top of a mountain, the pleasure of diving into a lake, the close friendships developed in a cabin or on a trip.

But I also wanted them to thrive in a community of shared values, with a long history of standing up for peace, civil rights, and the environment, where they too would learn to speak up and act on their beliefs.

And that’s why Farm & Wilderness gives me hope. As a former staff member, those values and lessons ground my life and work. As a parent, I see them in my children and their friends, who are determined to shape a future they can believe in. As a Trustee, I am honored to steward F&W as we continue to inspire the generations of young people who will be our leaders, long into that future.

In the last few months, I’ve been reminded repeatedly of the importance of community in challenging times. I am so grateful to share and support the Farm & Wilderness community with you.

In peace,




Becca Steinitz
F&W Trustee
Indian Brook Director (1993-95)
Barn Day Camp, Indian Brook and Tamarack Farm staff alum
F&W parent at Barn Day Camp, Indian Brook, Saltash Mountain and Tamarack Farm



Help F&W Thrive for Another 75





Posted in News & Announcements Tagged , , ,

This is Our Community

Emotions in our nation are raw and on edge. Neighbors, families, and friends avoid talking about headline news topics for fear that opposing views may lead to anger, conflict and worse: disengagement, separation, and isolation. We’ve become, in some ways, a community of “don’t ask it, don’t say it.”  This suppression of dialogue impacts our friendships, our families, and most importantly, our children.

The USA (albeit stolen/colonized/usurped) has Black Lives Mattercome to represent the ideals of democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality. How we have arrived at our present state of confusion, conflict, fear and disrespect is less important than our moral and civic responsibility to stand up for our values (whatever they may be), respect dissenting voices, engage in discussions, hear what is said, and appreciate different perspectives. In knowing, in understanding, we have a better chance at finding common ground and a path forward, together.

As a Quaker foundation, our roots in peace, equity and integrity are tenacious, resilient, and thriving. From our trustees to our staff, we recognize the importance and value in providing a space in the summer, especially this summer, where young people can discover and develop their voices as they explore their beliefs as independent, thinking humans. In our digital age, youth are bombarded by rhetoric and images that evoke emotional responses and intellectual stimulation.

Our opportunity at Farm & Wilderness is to provide a judgement-free environment with space for campers to discuss what’s on their minds, to ask complicated and nuanced questions (of which we don’t expect staff or peers to have the answers), and to promote open, thoughtful approaches to resolving conflicts that may surface from differing views and beliefs.

To genuinely accept the diversity of lived experiences and thought, we ourselves must learn and teach others to listen for understanding, not to convince or change people; to love and honor each other for our strengths, challenges and opposing perspectives. This is hard work.  As leaders in the F&W organization, we will guide our staff and model an approach to these thoughtful conversations that is inclusive and equitable. It is our mission, our values: this is our community.

In peace,

Rebecca Geary

Executive Director






Posted in News & Announcements, News From Our Executive Director Tagged , , , ,

Our Solar Array!

We have wanted to go solar for years at Farm & Wilderness, however, non-profits like government agencies, cannot use the State and Federal tax credits, making large solar installations difficult to afford. Last year Green Mountain Power, understanding this challenge, offered a grant for non-profits making solar more affordable.

Going Green!!
We took advantage of this and put 15,000 watts on the roof of the Tamarack Farmhouse, which will produce 18,000 kW hrs of electricity annually, nearly 20 percent of the entire Foundation’s electricity consumption.
The Farmhouse now produces more electricity than it consumes and in conjunction with the gasification boilers we purchase very little fuel, only what we need for cooking and backup heat.  In addition, we elected to keep Renewable Energy credits or REC’s (the “green attribute” of a project) ensuring that we do our part to make sure we are contributing to Renewable Energy.

Solar ArrayWe are investigating a much larger system to provide the balance of our electricity and then some as we are converting some of our space and water heating systems to air source heat pumps.  These efficient systems combined with solar are one of the most sustainable strategies available.  We are eager to see the results in our upcoming 2016 Greenhouse Gas Audit! 

Green Mountain Power has been an amazing utility to work with, they are committed to helping their customers reduce their energy usage, costs, and fossil fuel emissions.  We are now working with them on a battery for our Dairy Barn to eliminate the need for a generator during power outages, in turn, they are testing this battery in their quest to build microgrids, a new approach for putting energy generation and distribution in partnership with their customers.

Here’s to Sunshine!

-Jay Kullman | Director of Sustainable Resources



Posted in Resource News Tagged , , , ,

Come back for a special alumni weekend

TLSkipping stones-3 copy

“I remember when you could see all the way to the waterfront from here…”Rich Parker

This was the observation shared with campers and staff sitting in the Upper Lodge by Rich Parker, who has returned to F&W for over fifty summers.

Campers were stunned to hear that the forest wasn’t always there and reminded of the magical, somewhat eternal, sense of wilderness that embraces our community and how our surroundings have the potential to shape our experiences.

Hearing stories from Timberlake alumni—whether about trips, Pathfinders, logging expeditions or inspiring leaders—helps us all feel a part of something more enduring.

I invite you to come back to Timberlake for a special Alumni Weekend this summer, on 8/5-8/6. Timberlake is grateful for its alumni. We need you!

We will introduce you to campers and staff and let them escort you on a wander through camp. Take a dip in the lake, do a back flip off the rope swing or “The Monster,” and eat a meal in the Lodge. Most importantly, you can share your experiences and hear what our current campers and staff are doing and learning. The next morning join us for Silent Meeting. To support our campers’ experience, this weekend is for alumni without current campers.

You will organize your own accommodations locally and join us for activities on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning for Meeting. Space is limited to a group of up to 18 people. Please contact me if you’d like to attend.

We’re excited about Timberlake’s new kitchen scheduled to be built in the next year! It would be great to hear any camp kitchen stories you may have to share, especially those involving Al Hicks. In fact, it would be wonderful to hear any TL memories you’d be willing to share with us.

I invite you to send us your story in whatever format you’d like. We’ve made it simple by setting up a page on the F&W website to do just that. Your shared memories are important to us.

Timberlake alumni help us keep our rich history alive for today’s campers, and carry our values forward to the next generation. We need you to be involved! We look forward to hearing from you.

Work is Love Made Visible

Tulio Browning
At Timberlake, we value Simplicity, Peacemaking, Integrity, Community, Equity and Service.


Here are a few of our memories from over the years!



Posted in Timberlake Tagged , , ,