What Could That Milkweed Pod Be?

By Laurie Danforth, Board President

FAIRY furniture, homes, cider mills, libraries, spas, schools, an amusement park or even a disco!  The building blitz is about to begin and we need fairy builders AND foragers!  As Fall approaches it is time for gardens to be cleaned and put to bed.  Cutting back astilbe, daylilies stems, kalmia branches, and many other garden plants that have expended all their energy during summer’s blaze of color makes for perfect building materials for the imaginative work of participants in The Nature Museum’s Fairy House Festival.

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In 2008 when I was first introduced to the concept of a fairy house, I truly had no idea what one was or how one would go about getting other people to build them or to attend a festival to see the homes.  Since then I have seen how our Fairy House Festival encourages folks to get outside and look at the small wonders of nature during the entire year and in every kind of habitat.  Since that original festival 9 years ago over 400 architects and builders of all ages have brought their immense creativity and love of nature to their exhibits.  From preschoolers to retirees there has been no limit to their magical designs.

The Fairy House Festival has grown to be The Nature Museum’s largest fun-raising fundraiser.

In the last two years alone over 2400 people from all over New England and even into Canada have made the festival a Fall destination.  Not only do we always have an outstanding fairy village beautifully exhibited along two woodland paths, but also we offer building materials for anyone who wants to try their hand at construction.  That is where foragers from every habitat are critical to the success of the festival.  Beaches, woods, gardens, rivers, lakes… they all offer possible building materials for magical fairy creations.

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As you meander this month in the woods or in your garden please consider collecting materials for others to build fairy creations….or build something yourself!  An acorn top can become a plate, an acorn a teapot, birch bark can become a roof or a sail, shells can be anything from bathtubs to lampshades…..you get the idea.  Drop off your gatherings in a box or bag any time on the front porch of The Nature Museum.  Let your imagination flow with the fairies!

Special thanks to Margo Matt, who has been an outstanding forager for fairy house supplies this summer! As Queen of the Fairies (complete with shocking pink wings) I look forward to sprinkling you with magic fairy dust and sending you on your way to one of the best outside nature events in all of Vermont.