Farm & Garden Activities
Learning and playing in the Pfeiffer Center’s biodynamic teaching garden puts the ‘garden’ in Farm and Garden Days. Through gardening activities campers become aware of the rhythm and cycle of the earth and seasons, and learn through hands-on experience what it means to grow (and eat!) food. In the garden campers make compost, discover soil, dig and prepare beds for planting, plant seeds, transplant seedlings, weed, mulch and do a good bit of harvesting (which inevitably leads to eating).
Horses, cows, sheep, and chickens are our focus up at Duryea Farm. Campers groom and harness our work horses Captain and Eva and learn how to plow the fields with them. We milk cows from the only dairy herd left in Rockland County. The chickens love to be held as we collect eggs from their nests, and our sheep provide us with wool to clean, card, dye, and spin. Beyond caring for and learning about animals at the farm, campers will visit the hay loft, learn about farming tools, and help to harvest carrots, beets, turnips, onions, and any other crops the farmers need help bringing in.
With so much fresh produce there is a lot to be eaten. Campers make iced herbal tea, salads, dressings, salsa, grind grain for making pizza dough, make tomato sauce, prepare vegetables for toppings, and ultimately, at the end of our two weeks, host a meal they’ve made from scratch (parents are invited!). Firing up our wood-burning cob oven and making pizza, a process that began in the garden and ends on our plates, is the perfect way to wrap up two weeks of farming and gardening.
During Farm and Garden Days, just like at The Nature Place, we play non-competitive or cooperative games rather than the typical competitive sports. Physical play in a supportive environment gives busy young farmers and gardeners the chance to run, jump, learn, and laugh together.
Swimming for an hour every day gives Farm and Garden Days campers a chance to cool down, have fun, and practice swimming skills. We don’t offer instructional swim during this program, as we do at The Nature Place, but swimming during this hot time of year is a most welcomed part of each day.
Crafts & Nature Exploration
Constructing and decorating a planter for the seedling each camper will take home, collecting objects in nature to make earth art sculptures, digging clay from the bank of the Fairy Stream, pressing flowers, working with wool, and discovering the dyes and colors produced from fruits, vegetables, and objects in nature are a few of the art, craft, and nature-based projects campers do during Farm and Garden Days.