4/27/2013 7:00 AM
By Steve Damon Massachusetts Correspondent
PHILLIPSTON, Mass. — Five days after the Boston Marathon bombings, an American flag flew at half-mast at Lauren M. Roy’s Sugar Hollow Farm — a somber reminder at an otherwise happy event.
Sugar Hollow’s 7th annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 22, was a time for visitors to enjoy opening day on the farm and take in workshops on everything from alternative energy to natural living.
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge exhibited its interactive showcases, where participants learned about invasive species, attempted to roll a marble through a simulated Connecticut River (much like a shad looking for home), and built with wooden blocks to contemplate our reliance on other species.
Inside the refuge trailer, one could find animal models in authentic habitat.
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection provided information on composting. With a little reading, farm-goers could become a “Trash Terminator,” following such guidelines as “Buy in bulk.”
Roy’s farm store was also open, giving visitors an opportunity to purchase homemade towels, soap, herbs and canned vegetables. Also for sale were Roy’s books, including her newest one, “Beee My Friend,” a children’s book on learning to live with wasps and bees.
While not looking at exhibits, participants could wander into ad hoc discussion groups on a variety of topics, such as climate change, local foods, hoop house construction and the benefits of wintering-over parsnips.
Knowing there would be music at the event, one might of expected the folk sounds of Joan Baez or a Guthrie. Instead, Roy’s son’s band, Unforeseen Tragedy, banged out post-grunge music by the rabbit huts. The band’s enthusiasm likely convinced visitors that the next generation is prepared to take the planet to an environmentalist’s utopia — or, perhaps, Nirvana.
The Earth Day celebration was also an opportunity to give back with a contribution to the Alfred H. Marengo Jr. Foundation for Homeless Veterans. A red barrel for donations stood next to the American flag. The foundation, named for Roy’s father, helps veterans in numerous ways, including clothing and blanket drives and contributions to the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center.
Roy said she was pleased with the day’s attendance.
“I am so happy that news about the farm and foundation is getting out,” she said.
The youth group at not-too-far-away United Church of Bernardston heard about the goings-on and is starting the first collection for the foundation in western Massachusetts, she said.
For more information about the farm, visit http://www.sugarhollowfarm.info.