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Amazon Adventure
by Dawn Lawless

"You're going where?" This was the question posed to me by many colleagues, friends and my new husband when I announced that I was going to visit the Amazon Rainforest. That was almost ten years ago, and I'm eagerly awaiting a return trip this July. This time I'll be facilitating an educator workshop, where we'll be learning about two very different regions, the lowland Amazon Rainforest, and Machu Picchu.

There are still times that my trip to the Amazon Rainforest nine years ago feels like yesterday. The delightful sights and sounds of that place along with the eternal kindness of its people have inspired me to make some changes in my life back home. Nothing can compare to the vivid memories of catching a glimpse of the florescent blue wings of the morpho butterfly, or hearing the song of the oropendula birds with their clusters of hanging nests. What I most enjoyed on my trip was experiencing a slower pace of life, one might say, living with nature rather than running counter to its natural rhythms. Many of us could benefit from that lesson, if only we were to stop and listen to its message.

The rainforest is immense, yet shrinking. It is loud, yet peaceful. It is definitely warm and wet. The rainforest is full of beautiful and intriguing creatures. Just being exposed to it for several days is enough to make you ponder your existence and purpose here on Earth.

Catching bats in mist nets, swimming with pink dolphins, spotting a tapir, fishing for piranhas, lounging in a hammock, climbing the canopy walkway, and holding a sloth were all enjoyable activities. But the most meaningful interactions were those with the people. Visiting a one-room schoolhouse in a village, giving children books, watching them play soccer — these images will be permanently etched in my mind. My class of kindergarten students donated clothing for some children in a rainforest village. I was able to trade the clothes for a hand-made necklace for each student in my class.

Upon my return I helped to organize a walk-a-thon in the Coatesville Area School District to raise funds for ACEER. Students designed a t-shirt, which was worn by all participants in the walk-a-thon. With the proceeds we adopted a school in the Peruvian Amazon and we purchased rain forest acreage in Central America. The Adopt-a-School Program, now transformed into the AMIGOS Program, was a wonderful experience for my students. We wrote back and forth to our adopted school, Sapo Playa. Pictures were sent to us showing the classroom materials that they received from our donation. Our school looks to rekindle our relationship with another rainforest school through AMIGOS.

The trip also inspired me to start an organic fruit, vegetable and flower garden at my school. We meet a local need by donating all our produce to the local men's shelter. With the help of Maysie's Farm Conservation Center, the school garden idea has been replicated in three area schools with one more in the planning stage.

I'm excited to share my experiences with other educators this summer. We will have a busy and stimulating itinerary. We'll participate in day and night hikes and cover topics such as: soil, bats (adaptations), ants (pheromones), bees (pollination), species relationships, IPM (integrated pest management), agriculture, aquatics and field study techniques. Time will be allocated to meet local people, visit two schools, and to discuss development challenges and conservation issues. After a delightful train ride to Machu Picchu we will visit the world's largest orchid garden and explore the Inca ruins.

If you are an educator, I invite you to join ACEER (Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research), West Chester University and me for an adventure guaranteed to change your life. We'll be departing on July 25 and returning on August 4. Graduate and undergraduate credits, as well as Act 48 credit, are available through WCU. Cost is $2970 and includes roundtrip airfare from Miami, meals and lodging, and educational materials. A $500 deposit and registration are due on April 20, 2004. Visit www.aceer.org or call Dawn Lawless at (610) 384-7286 or Roger Mustalish (610) 738-0477 for more details.

More Than Just Vegetables at Maysie's
By Colleen Cranney

Kale plants thriving late in the season
In keeping with our mission and motto "Think Globally, Eat Locally," Maysie's Farm is pleased to offer its CSA members other locally grown, sustainably produced foods. For the third year, we will be offering pastured poultry from Brian and Holly Moyer of Green Haven Farm. Every other week Brian will drop off the fresh eggs and freshly butchered, frozen chickens, which had been ordered in the barn during the previous two weeks. Brian is expanding his operation this year — his chickens and eggs are so popular that last year he had trouble keeping up with the demand!

And for the second year, on weeks alternating with the chickens and eggs, members can pick up meat orders from Pasture's Pride Natural Meats, the farm of David and Joy Stutzman, near Kutztown. All their beef and pork (like Brian's chickens) are raised and finished on high quality pastures, with no chemical pesticides or herbicides. And their animals are raised without antibiotics or hormones, since these drugs are not necessary in a healthy environment. You can taste the difference!

In a new cooperative marketing venture, this season Maysie's Farm is hoping to offer raw milk and raw milk products from Benuel and Anna Stoltzfus in Honey Brook. Raw milk is not pasteurized or homogenized, and thus retains nutrients and flavors that are lost during these processes. The Stoltzfus' farm is a certified organic, non-toxic environment that produces safe, nutritious raw milk. A survey has been sent out to the 2003 members to see if there's enough interest in raw milk products to offer them at Maysie's.

We hope you take advantage of supporting these other local food sources. Ordering information will be available in the barn on your pick up days. Payment can be made when you pick up the food.

Remember to Think Globally, Eat Locally!

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From the Editor:

Maysie's Messages welcomes and encourages all submissions. The opinions expressed in Maysie's Messages do not necessarily reflect the views of Maysie's Farm Conservation Center.

Send submissions to:

newsletter@maysiesfarm.org or to
Maysie's Farm Conservation Center
15 St. Andrew's Lane
Glenmoore, PA 19343

For more information about Maysie's Farm Conservation Center or Community Supported Agriculture, contact Sam Cantrell at (610) 458-8129, or at either the e-mail or postal address above.

Art Direction/Layout for the paper newsletter: Lisa Henry Lacek
Editor: Colleen Cranney
Webmaster: Amy Guskin

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