A new permaculture garden installation at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills recently got many helping hands as volunteers started preparing for the 15th annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm. MMRG is now seeking more helpers to assist with preparations and at the Festival on Saturday, August 12 at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills.

Amy Gardner and her two young sons were among the volunteers helping transplant vegetables into new permaculture raised beds built by Sheehan Gardens, an heirloom vegetable business in Milton Mills. Amy remarked afterwards, “As a mom, I appreciated the opportunity to get kids involved in gardening. They dug holes, mixed in compost, and had fun planting. Anytime you put kids and dirt together, it’s a happy combination! Thomas (age 5) came to life planting melons into the prepared mounds; he did an awesome job patting the soil carefully around the delicate melon roots. And of course they enjoyed the free lemonade and cider donuts for volunteers!”

Prue Thresher, a first-time volunteer for MMRG, enjoyed meeting others involved with the organization while planting, mulching, and watering the new gardens. Sheehan Lygren, co-owner of Sheehan Gardens, was pleased at what the helpers had accomplished in a few short hours. And MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren praised their efforts. “They all worked really hard and did a great job. And I think they appreciated getting to take home a couple heirloom veggie plants from Sheehan Gardens as a token of our thanks.”

More help is needed to finish the permaculture garden, including building, planting and mulching a few more raised beds. Call Sheehan Lygren directly at 603-828-9343 to volunteer spontaneously on a convenient day.

2017 WWW Festival volunteers will be organized once again by Cheryl Giguere in coordination with Education Coordinator Lygren. Giguere, a dedicated MMRG volunteer herself, serves in many capacities at the organization and was recognized at MMRG’s Annual Meeting in April as MMRG’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’. Giguere says the Festival is her favorite volunteer job. “Especially now that I’m a new grandmother, I’ve become even more aware of the need to teach youth about taking care of wildlife and nature. I believe in everything that MMRG stands for and the Festival is one place we do that for children. I hope my grandson will come up for the Festival on August 12. We make a point of giving Festival volunteers time to go to the day’s activities, so I want to take him on a Hayride or to ‘Let’s Go Fishing’.

Many Festival volunteers are needed to pitch in on festival day, Saturday, August 12, or to help set up on Friday, August 11. Volunteers can set up hay bales, tents, and tables, assist with parking cars, sell food and raffle tickets, help kids have fun with crafts and other activities, and especially to help clean up at the end of the day. Please call Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info. For more information about the WWW Festival, click here to see our Festival webpage. 

Adds Giguere, “If lots of people can pitch in just a little, nobody will get burnt out. It’s work but it’s fun and you reap more than you sow!”  Lygren adds, “Volunteers get free admission, some time to enjoy festival events and a free festival salad or dessert. And we’ll thank all our volunteers with a lake house cookout on Sunday afternoon, September 10. We couldn’t do it without all our wonderful helpers and we want them to know how important they are to us!”

Donations and festival proceeds support MMRG’s land conservation and educational outreach work. Business sponsorships of festival events are still available; please contact Amy Gardner at amy.mmrg@gmail.com or call 603-473-2020. We are deeply grateful to our major sponsors: Bruce and Jennifer Rich, Carl and Beth Siemon, the Hays-Dombrower Family, and the Wyatt Family. The Siemon Company and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust generously underwrite the festival by matching sponsorship donations up to $20,000.