Horn Farm Community Crew
Beginning Summer 2023
Become a keystone species at the Horn Farm Center!
Restoring land and reviving ecosystems takes time and a team. That’s why the Horn Farm Center is bringing together our core values of community and education through a new, dedicated volunteer program that offers more ways for our community to engage with nature and regenerative land stewardship. Through the Horn Farm Community Crew program, volunteers will be able to train with Horn Farm staff and play a key role in specialized projects focused on ecological bolstering and revival: healing the land and our relationship to it.
Perks of membership include ongoing training and education with experienced staff, a free t-shirt, volunteer social events, and the ability to log hours spent volunteering to redeem free class vouchers / other perks.
What does the Community Crew Do?
For 2023, volunteers will focus on ecological revival and natural infrastructure projects in the Horn Farm Center’s rewilded fields and woodlands. Occasional opportunities in the perennial farm fields (as needed) will be interspersed with core work in these spaces. All work is geared toward regenerating the health of soil, water, and biodiversity across (and beyond) the lands we steward. Examples of workday tasks include:
- Blazing and maintaining woodland walking trails.
- Building and repairing water infrastructure like check dams, Zuni bowls, and trail bridges (all designed using materials sourced from our forests).
- Clearing dispersive plants and bolstering with native plantings; weeding recently-planted areas like Miyawaki plots and our new hillside food forest.
- Creating, repairing, and preserving habitat sites like vernal pools and wildlife stacks.
- Planting and maintaining tree saplings in woodland and riparian areas.
- Collecting and dispersing native seeds for wild propagation.
- Maintaining tools.
To join the Horn Farm Community Crew, volunteers MUST attend at least one (1) on-site training day.
Training days will cover basics like: our land management approaches, land ethics, tool use and safety, plant identification, current needs and goals, and team-building.
Let’s Get Started!
Sign up for one of our upcoming training days below:
Sunday, July 16th, 10am-2:30pm
Sunday, September 10th, 10am-2:30pm
After participating in a training day, you will receive a Google Drive link containing an active calendar of upcoming workdays/opportunities, a self-reporting form for logging your hours, information on perks, and general Horn Farm information.
Community Crew workdays will be scheduled at least twice monthly on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays with occasional Wednesdays and Saturdays. During the growing season, there will be a greater spread of workdays available for trained volunteers to participate.
For every Community Crew workday attended, volunteers will be able to report hours through a form you’ll receive after training. Community Crew members can log hours for workdays specific to this program AND for general volunteer events that are open to non-members, like the Horn Farm’s Pawpaw Festival, Plant Sale, and other public volunteer days.
Current perks include:
Volunteer t-shirt // free training involving hands-on land stewardship education // invitation to a yearly Community Crew gathering.
After first 25 hours:
Three free vouchers to classes taught by Horn Farm Center staff // a “Horn Farm Community Crew” badge. Other perks are in the works!
Physical Activity Note and Waiver:
While we want to make volunteering accessible to anyone interested in land stewardship, it’s necessary for us to flag that some aspects of this program are physically demanding. Volunteers will never be asked to work beyond their comfort area or capacity, but most tasks will require a range of bodily activities including lifting and moving heavy materials, using hand tools, bushwhacking, and walking on uneven, sometimes muddy and unstable terrain. We recommend that participants be in good health with moderate physical strength to participate.
ALL VOLUNTEERS must read and sign the Horn Farm Center’s liability waiver and media release form in order to participate in the Community Crew. Forms will be provided for signing on training days.
Join Our First Training on May 21st, 2023!
Our Working Logo:
At the Horn Farm, we’re always taking cues and inspiration from the natural world. In thinking about a way to visually capture the Community Crew and “brand” the program as it grows, we can’t help but see parallels in mycelium: a living, subterranean network that tethers whole ecosystems:
Indeed, the mushrooms populating shady logs and duff are actually the fruiting bodies of underground mycelium: interconnected fibers that funnel nutrients and resources through the forest floor. In mature forests, mycelial networks connect entire plant communities, to such an extent that many plants are able to exchange resources and cooperate through these underground matrices.
We find mycelium to be a fitting symbol for the Horn Farm Community Crew as community members increasingly take part in an interconnected web of land stewardship projects that will sustain (and in many cases recreate) a healthy whole. Additionally, much of our land tending is about remediation, and this is the niche that fungi have adapted to fill: decomposition to nourish new life. Much of our work involves “decomposing” impaired systems and recycling materials (such as dispersive plant species) to revive a functioning ecosystem, sourcing our inspiration, materials, and solutions from the very organism we’re breaking down and revitalizing.
Over time, we see this program as a way to cultivate a vibrant network of earth stewards dedicated to helping nature thrive! By learning and tending together at the Horn Farm Center, members can take the skills and experiences of land-based volunteering home and further spread the knowledge, determination, and confidence that our communities need to bring ourselves back into balance with nature.