In full transparency, the following press release & photos were submitted to SOURCE media
SUDBURY – The Wayside Inn Foundation recently completed a series of humanities-themed drop-off summer programs for children.
To engage new audiences and expand the available educational program offerings for youth, Foundation kicked off the Time Travelers Summer Programs with a Juneteenth program and picnic on June 19.
The series continued July 19-23 with the Three Sisters Summer Programs and August 16-20 with the American Cooking Through Time Programs.
The July and August summer programs took advantage of the new Three Sisters Garden planted by Education Coordinator Katina Fontes in the spring.
“The Native American method of planting corn, beans, and squash together inspired the garden,” said Fontes. “As we were planning our youth programs, we looked around our site and noticed an unused sunny area behind the Old Barn perfect for a vegetable garden! It provided our July program participants with an educational laboratory for learning about composting, gardening, biodiversity, and Native American stories and traditions. It also supplied produce for discussions about local cooking and food production during our August programs.”
The red barn, located across the road from Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, served as the youth programs’ home base. It provided program participants with covered space that allowed for the flow of fresh air (to allay COVID-19 concerns), and a workspace to escape the elements when the weather limited outdoor activities.
“Most of the days were pleasant, and we tried to work and play outdoors as much as possible,” noted Fontes. “However, there were a few days with rain, wind, and even a tornado warning. It was quite an adventure moving everyone and everything into the Ford Room quickly during the storm!”
The July Three Sisters Summer program included activities that encouraged exploration. Themes included gardening and sustainability, pollinators, Native American storytelling, nature journaling, and plein air art. The activities were hands-on, with kids creating a compost pile, weeding the garden, going on nature hikes to collect specimens, tasting honey, and painting outdoors on.
“In addition to the planned educational moments,” said Fontes, “the garden provided other, more subtle lessons for our young participants. The plants in our garden help each other grow. The corn serves as a natural climbing structure for beans, and the squash leaves create shade for the base of the corn plants. Sunflowers, the fourth sister, attract bees which are essential for pollinating our corn plants. The importance of working together can be taken by the children beyond the garden and into their everyday lives.”
The challenges of food production were the themes highlighted during the August American Cooking Through Time Programs.
“Food crops are difficult to grow,” noted Fontes, “and so we discussed the work involved in not only growing food but in creating some of our favorite recipes.” The children examined early American cooking tools from the Wayside Inn Collection, made butter from cream and cider from apples, and toured the Grist Mill. “At the end of each day, we sent the children home with loaves of wheat bread, dinner rolls, and muffins made from flour and meal ground in The Grist Mill and cooked in our kitchen,” said Fontes. “The kids especially like the corn muffins!”
TWIF hopes to offer another series of youth programs next summer. They are also exploring educational programming possibilities for school groups and organizations. “We are open to creating custom onsite or virtual programs for school-age children,” added Fontes. “We are currently working with a school in Framingham to pilot a few ideas.”
Inquiries about program options may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.