Matthews Farm Museum's Heritage Event

The Museum's community based educational purpose is in part to connect the history of farming culture in its resourceful use of land and 'what was at hand' to the modern 'us', while reminding us of the values inherent to closely living on the land.  Among the traditions celebrated were kitchen gardens, putting up food; textile, metal and woodworking, art, music; and the joy of gathering together on a summer day.  There is much more to say about the here is their website:

BRDC is proud to participate in such a celebration with a great cross-section of our friends and neighbors.  Our contribution was based upon our mission...bringing the natural world into an interactive demonstration of things that live in our Blue Ridge.  Throughout the day we hosted nearly 30 kids and probably at least that many adults in the form of parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

I forgot my camera, so apologies for no pictures to authenticate our presence, but I am not sure I would have had time to photo-document properly.  Eric Harrold and I tended the table all day, with our owl pellet dissection activity, a few cages of insects gathered by me the day before, as well as a large collection of moths I grabbed this morning before first light.  My intention was to spend more time introducing BRDC to the public, and had prepared simple handouts to that purpose. 

Perhaps the most distinguishing aspect of our day was the large number of folks with ID questions.  Some were there with pictures on their phones of moths and other insects that intrigued them.  Fortunately we had brought with us a small library of field guides, which led to earnest inquiry and great conversation.  Showing folks the strength and value of these books opened many eyes, including some from the local libraries.  Separating Katydids from grasshoppers and crickets, comparing beetles, identifying a hops plant nearby, describing the back-crossing efforts of the American Chestnut Foundation (a significant function of the Matthews' estate), discussing invasive species (especially the Japanese beetle), and joining in stories about hawk sightings all populated our collective wonderment.

The truth is that no one is really an expert.  When I co-founded BRDC several years ago, my expectation was that along with the kids and everyone else, I would be learning as well.  Today was proof positive. 

Once again, Eric and I heard from the mouths of kids:  'This is so cool', 'I am having too much fun', and 'These bones are amazing'.  This is what it's all about.  Period.