Maple-Lined Entrance and New Barn Redefine Camp Experiences
By Jay Kullman, Jarod Wunneburger, and Adair Arbor
New Maple Planting
If you take a drive through the main entrance of Farm & Wilderness Road, you’ll now see a beautiful line of dozens of maple saplings guiding the way into the heart of our camps. This planting is the result of years of collaborative planning, and an investment in this land for future generations to enjoy once they have grown tall and strong. This season, we celebrate the fruition of a dream that has taken taken root over many years, thanks to the vision of dedicated leaders and generous donors.
In 1996, the initial blueprints were drawn up for an office and maintenance facility to better serve the growing organization’s mission and operational needs. Pieter Bohen, the new Executive Director at the time, led the charge on these plans, and recognized the need for redesign the landscape surrounding the new facilities. Pieter worked closely with Jay Kullman, now Resource Director, to imagine and plan what that could look like.
One significant change that marked the beginning of this transformative journey was the rerouting of our road to enable vehicle travel and ensure camper and staff safety. Of particular concern was the safety of Barn Day Campers, whose campus sits along the edge of the main road. The road construction, while crucial, left the roadside bare of vegetation.
Pieter and Jay, who worked closely on this project for many years, envisioned a transformation that would not only benefit Farm & Wilderness, but also the local community and Vermont as a whole. They aimed to create an environment that resonated with the natural beauty and heritage of the state. The question was simple: "What do we want folks to see when they enter F&W?" The answer was equally simple but profound: the timeless and quintessential Vermont town road, lined with magnificent maple trees.
This dream has now become a reality, thanks to financial support of several local donors. Their dedication to preserving Vermont's natural splendor and ensuring that the entryway to F&W’s Woodward camps is beautiful, functional, and sustainable made this long-term project happen.
The choice of maples for this project was intentional, as they represent the classic maple-lined Vermont town roads that have become an iconic symbol of the state's picturesque landscape. The maples not only enhance the visual appeal of the entrance; they represent a natural connection to Plymouth and VT.
Our new planting of brave little maple saplings serves as a powerful reminder of the positive impact that passionate individuals and generous community members can have on their surroundings.
At Farm & Wilderness, the spirit of creativity and hands-on work extends to every aspect of their programs. This year, a new barn, made possible by generous Timberlake alum Ben Klebanoff, is set to redefine the camp's Barns and Gardens (B&G) activities.
The former B&G space didn’t quite meet the needs of the bustling boys’ camp, prompting TL Director Jarod “W” Wunneburger to seek out a creative solution. Former B&G Head, Ben Klebanoff, stepped up to offer financial support and partner together on creating a plan for a new Timberlake barn.
It was agreed, between W, Ben, and Resource Director Jay Kullman, that construction would go slowly, spanning several years, so that campers could build the barn themselves as part of their summer work projects. Patiently and with support from excellent work projects heads at Timberlake, the plan unfolded to excellent effect.
Summer 2023 campers took the project over the finish line, notably including Russel Horowitz, who was incredibly busy with his own construction project to complete his Pathfinder. All timber used in the project, from posts and beams to siding and flooring, was harvested from Farm & Wilderness spruce on the property, and milled locally into boards. This super-local material embodies our ethos of “Farm-to-table, but for forestry,” as noted by Jay Kullman, a crucial leader in this endeavor.
The barn is strategically located near TL’s main lodge in order to pique campers’ curiosity and increase interest in the program. Housing goats, chickens, and their food, it primarily serves as a programming space. This dry sanctuary offers campers the opportunity to engage in B&G activities, even on rainy days. Its open design encourages gathering and sitting in circle, while remaining close the animals and gardens.
Our campers worked hard and collaboratively over several summers to finish this barn they will now enjoy for decades to come. We value work projects as an original foundation of Farm & Wilderness programming because of what kids gain from the experience: physical strength, transferrable skills, learning the power of teamwork, and feeling the gratification of completing something epic. Jay expressed it best, saying, “When you talk to the campers about it later, it’s clear that the impact of the experience was big for them.”