Our First Project!

Hi everyone!

The field team is off to a great start this summer! Our team was ready to go after our orientation week where we learned all about the National Park Service, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and our role as Branching Out field team members!

We headed to Adams National Historical Park located in Quincy, MA for our first project. During this project we focused on performing routine maintenance and learning about the sites history.

Adams National Historical Park is where the summer home of two American presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams lived. Both of them fought for independence for our country and the house reflected the families interest in farming. The parks main features are the formal garden, apple orchard, and the Old House.


Old House, library, and formal garden at Peacefield

Our first task was to mow the grass in the historic apple orchard. Using the sicklebar mower (see photos below) and a huge team effort, we mowed the grass down and used hay rakes to collect the hay to later be composted.


Gardener, Bob Mackenzie teaching the field team how to operate the sicklebar mower.


Look how tall that grass is. You could get lost in it!

The park allows the grass to grow tall during the summer to protect the trees from insects and diseases. Mice, frogs, and insects live in the tall grass and we found many creatures as we were clearing the field! This project really helped out the park because it is such a huge project that the park takes on each year and with our team, we were able to clear the field in 3 days rather than the many weeks it would take for the park staff to do on their own.

After we finished mowing and raking the orchard field, we moved on to helping the park-based interns Reika and Laxmi with planting in the formal garden. Earlier in the week we learned about formal gardens and how to maintain them. It was interesting to learn how the park maintains the landscape to look as it is when the Adams were living there!


Field team learning about the formal garden


A past Branching Out project – tree nursery!


Flowers in the greenhouse that will eventually be planted in the formal garden


Our first project was a lot of hardwork, but it was fun being at the park, working outside, and getting to know the field team more. Our next project will take place at Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site located in Brookline, MA. Stay tuned for updates from the field team!

If you want to learn more about Branching Out and our field projects, join us at our next teach-back. Visit this website for more information and to register!

Marcus and Shreena

Marcus and Shreena


Field team 2015!!

Field team 2015!!

Thank you Adams National Historical Park for an amazing project!

5 responses to “Our First Project!

  1. A great bunch of kids that really get involved in there day to day operation. I think we can really learn from them. Its really nice to see new and familiar faces.


  2. Seems like you all had a great time at ADAM last week. Sorry I missed it, but look forward to working with you next week. Keep up the good work!


  3. Wow – you all did a whole bunch of work! Great job. And awesome blog: this is one of the best, if not the VERY BEST, BoP blog I’ve ever read: great descriptions, and you used photos so well to share your experiences. I wasn’t there, but almost felt like I was. Keep up the great work!!!


  4. We at Adams always enjoy having the field team here. We like getting the work done, and love the dedication, enthusiasm, and humor you bring to the task at hand. Most of all I admire your curiosity about the landscape and your willingness to learn.


  5. Love the posts, your enthusiasm, and the interesting places you are working. We can’t wait for you to bright green our Val Kill next week.


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