June 2024 at ThorpeWood

Howdy and welcome to our June newsletter! June was a whirlwind of growth and new beginnings on the farm. Summer programs are in full force as we watch the barn swallows fledge from their nests and tomatoes emerge from their vines. Check out what we’ve been up to in the last month.


The month started out with an impactful visit from The Umbrella Project. ThorpeWood served as a “basecamp” for The Umbrella Project’s summer trip. Participants spent the afternoon and evening on the farm hiking on our trails, visiting our farm animals, and learning essential outdoor skills such as setting up tents, packing backpacks, and using camp stoves. For the next three days, they backpacked 22 miles, shared their grief, and found healing and connection. We’re honored to be a part of their journey.

In ThorpeWood-facilitated programs, we’re excited to report that our summer partnerships with Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County and Centro Hispano de Frederick are going swimmingly! No, really: to beat the heat, these groups have been spending a lot of time in the cool waters of our stream and shade of the forest. 

Both the 3rd to 5th graders and middle school cohorts from Boys & Girls club have been introduced to the farm by hiking the property, meeting the animals, and spending time with the ThorpeWood staff on their first few visits. As they continue to visit the farm once a week for the remainder of the summer, they’ll dive deeper into team building, animal care, and helping the garden grow. Stay tuned for progress pictures of the beautiful sunflowers planted at the beginning of the summer!

Centro Hispano de Frederick is a nonprofit whose mission is to “equip the Hispanic community to be thriving, contributing members of Frederick County.” We’re proud to be supporting their summer camp for youth this year! On June 19th, they joined us for a sunny day of activities on the farm. Their day was a combination of self-led activities and ThorpeWood-led programs which included rock painting, mindfulness in nature, animal time, and meaningful reflection. Our staff had such a wonderful time exploring the natural world with them, and we’re excited for their return in July.

For the first time this year, we welcomed a group of youth and staff from Kids Like Us, a Frederick County program that aims to “break the cycle of addiction by identifying youth impacted by the drug/alcohol misuse of family member(s) and engaging them in best practices of prevention in both school and community settings.” We feel fortunate to continue this partnership with such a relevant and impactful program. This month’s group impressed the ThorpeWood staff by engaging deeply with the animals and natural world, building coping skills, and connecting with one another during a full day of self-led and ThorpeWood-led activities. We’re excited to already be planning their ThorpeWood adventures for next summer!

Our Grief Hike program, which provides a support group and hike for those who have lost a loved one, continued on the last Saturday in June. ThorpeWood’s Executive Director and licensed grief counselor, Kaili, welcomed a smaller group of women this month who bravely told their stories, provided comfort to one another, and shared some laughs as they hiked the property. Registration for July’s grief hike will be posted in the coming weeks. Later that day, we hosted a group of residents from Steadfast: Standing Firm Against Youth Homelessness for some relaxing fishing at the pond.

Community Events & Nonprofit Groups

Who knew so many people wanted to learn about snakes? Well, we did! And so does Kerry Wixted who generously led a talk on them for our June Nature on Tap speaker series event at RAK Brewing Co. on June 11th. Kerry is a well-known local expert on all things creepy and crawly. Her presentation to over 100 attendees was engaging, funny, and informative. We’re so grateful for her time and expertise! Nature On Tap continues on July 9th at 6pm with special guest, beekeeper and owner of Three Spartans Apiary, and caretaker of the bees that live at ThorpeWood: Art MacLarty! Sign up here in advance to get 15% off your tab at RAK.

It’s been another busy month for nonprofit groups at ThorpeWood. In June we hosted two returning groups from the FCPS Social Studies Department and the Frederick County Department of Social Services for their training and retreat days. We’re grateful to have these educational groups who do such important work in our community return to their ThorpeWood home for the day. 

FCPS’s Department of Technology Infrastructure fully embraced their end-of-year retreat at ThorpeWood. In addition to self-led games, a potluck lunch, a scavenger hunt, and a raffle giveaway, these technology pros took part in team building with Tim. A small group even ventured over to the farm for a hike and animal visit.

We honed in on ThorpeWood’s commitment to sustainability by supporting two different STEM events in June. On the 15th, Urbana High School held their STEMM (the extra M is for “mindfulness!”) Picnic for students, families, and alumni. Students received awards and recognition for their time assisting the community as volunteer teachers. Brad Young, the Frederick County Board of Education President, was on hand to pass out awards. On June 24th, Carroll County Public Schools STEM staff joined experts from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to test the air quality near our waterways. This study will encompass air quality surveys near water sources from all over Maryland, including near the Baltimore Harbor, the Eastern Shore, and local high schools.

The Garden

It has been such a delight to welcome our summer program participants and new volunteers to the garden! Garden volunteers, you know who you are: thank you for helping our garden grow so beautifully. Thanks to this team effort, the Boys and Girls Club and other summer programs get to pick and enjoy fresh garden peas and cucumbers until it’s time to dig ruthlessly for potatoes, lovingly pluck tomatoes from the vine, choose the most tender green beans, and see how quickly the canteloupes ripen. Pumpkins for Halloween, anyone? Check out our progress…

We hope everyone’s summer continues with the joy of a firework and the restoration of a cool breeze. We’ll leave you with a question:

How will you show yourself kindness this month?

Until next time,
The Team at ThorpeWood