Welcoming the Wonders of Winter
Yesterday morning’s coating of snow was a welcome sight at the Horn Farm Center–especially in our native pollinator gardens! These plots were planted in 2022 by students of the Ecological Gardener Training Program, which is now accepting applications for the 2024 program.
While the native perennials are tucking most of their energies underground for the winter, we leave their stems, seed heads, and leaf litter intact for a flurry of reasons:
Exposed seeds are a boon: dropping to the garden bed to multiply spring growth while feeding our furred and feathered neighbors, who are currently foraging for energy-rich foods that will warm them through the cold.
Additionally, leaf litter and plant debris provide overwintering habitat for pollinators like butterflies and moths, who may settle in at any point in their life cycle: egg, pupa, caterpillar, and even adult-stage. Other beneficial insects will use dry, hollowed stems to lay their young for the winter’s rest.
Lastly, as the winter wanes, all of this decaying matter will retain water and nourish spring soil, aiding the growth of next year’s bounty.
Nature shows us how winter dormancy is not the absence of life, but its continuation–so why not take a cue and conserve our own energies into the spring by leaving these beautiful winter gardens be? From butterflies to blooms, the rainbow of the spring is an outcome of the winter’s own muted beauty.
Rediscover Your Place in Nature
A call to the wild ones… the ones who love to get their hands dirty, the ones who come alive in wild spaces, the ones who know there is more to learn and want to make a difference… we are saving a place for you at the Horn Farm.
Uncover your true power to become an agent of positive change. Discover how to transform degraded landscapes into healthy, biodiverse, productive habitats through ecological learning and hands-on training. Become a skilled steward of the land at the Horn Farm Center.
Now is the time to submit your application and become a 2024 trainee!
Join us for the 2024 Land Steward Training Program: February 11 – May 21, 2024.
Scholarship funds are available to all applicants thanks to the Peterman Family Foundation and the generous contributions of other students enrolled in the program.
Open Call for Program Instructors
Each year we host about 100 educational programs and events at the Horn Farm Center. We do so with the help of outside instructors, who bring their own experiences and expertise to our community at the farm.
As part of our mission to provide a diversity of educational experiences that connect people to the land, we are always looking to partner with new program instructors – even first-time teachers!
Instructors are paid for their time and teach a wide range of program topics that align with our values and mission, including:
- Sustainable Gardening Practices & Techniques
- Agroforestry – live staking, coppicing, fruit and nut tree production
- Natural Arts – basket weaving, natural dyes, fiber arts, paper making, etc.
- Homesteading – food preservation, natural building, animal husbandry, etc.
- Cooking Classes
- Natural or Local History
- Outdoor Wellness Activities – yoga, forest bathing, nature journaling
Learn the Art of Beekeeping
Don’t miss you chance to become a beekeeper in 2024! Taught by Mark Gingrich of Gingrich Apiaries, the Horn Farm’s Beekeeper Training Program explores beekeeping from its scientific underpinnings to keeping a hive at home.
Over the course of this two year program, participants will work side by side with Mark and other program participants to learn all aspects of keeping bees.
At the end of year one, each participant will have the option of receiving a bee colony to be moved to their home property. During the second year, participants will benefit from repetition of some aspects of the program, learn more advanced techniques and troubleshooting while managing their own hive at home.
Winter Willow Workdays
Interested in agroforestry? Starting NEXT WEDNESDAY, we are seeking daytime volunteers to help us complete our second annual willow coppicing!
Coppicing is the process of pruning a tree or shrub to ground level in order to stimulate the growth of shoots and provide a sustainable supply of agroforestry products year to year. This winter, we will be coppicing several dozen varieties of willow for basketry materials.
In line with our regenerative mission, our willow field also serves significant environmental roles by occupying one of two riparian buffers. The willow roots aid in water retention and help stabilize the soils near the heavily eroded stream bank that we’re working to restore.
Learn more about agroforestry, coppicing and multifunctional riparian buffers while lending a helping hand this winter. Our winter 2023/2024 workdays are open for registration:
- Wednesday, December 13th, 9am-12pm
- Monday, January 15th (MLK Day of Service), 9am-12pm
- Wednesday, January 17th, 9am-12pm
- RESCHEDULED Sunday, February 4th: Agroforestry Work & Learn
Due to the inclement weather anticipated for this weekend, our Agroforestry Work & Learn has been RESCHEDULED to Sunday, February 4th, 2024. Registrations for the new date will open after this Sunday, December 10th once we coordinate with folks who have already signed up.
We hope you can join the fun at the Horn Farm!