Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Gift of Thanks


I don’t get much mail, so this handwritten thank you note from Chiara D’Amore of the Community Ecology Institute stood out in the pile of catalogues and bills that arrived yesterday. It meant a lot to me because, frankly, I’m a small donor. I haven’t been doling out the big bucks. But I am a big fan of the work that CEI is doing at Freetown Farm.

I first heard of Dr. D’Amore through her local initiative to get families out into nature. (Columbia Families in Nature)  This work has expanded in a variety of ways since then, including a program for children called Roots & Wings Learning Community

The mission of Roots & Wings is to provide an educational experience for home-schooled children, where their knowledge, creativity and voices are nurtured through experiential and nature-infused lessons and activities.

I see that Roots and Wings has announced a gift raffle to support their programs. Here’s the information:

Starting this Spring Equinox, we are kicking off a quarterly gift basket raffle! The raffle winner will take home an amazing basket chock full of seasonal goodies, gardening tips, and it will feature a local artist each quarter. You can expect to find locally sourced items, kid-friendly goodies, and more! Approx. basket value: $300 (the first basket will definitely exceed this amount!).

Raffle tickets are $10 each or 2 for $18 - ticket prices will increase on March 1st, so be sure to grab a few before then! 

The winner of our Spring Equinox Basket will be drawn March 19th, so that the winnings can be enjoyed on the equinox.

Our featured artist for the Spring Basket is our very own Chiara D'Amore - she lives locally in Columbia MD, creates beautiful works of art  inspired by nature and is the Executive Director of the Community Ecology Institute.

To purchase raffle tickets - send your ticket fee via PayPal to and please note how many tickets you are buying and your first and last name in the notes section of payment. Also be sure to select "sending to a friend".

Raffle proceeds will go directly to supporting the Roots and Wings program! Please be sure to spread the word and share this raffle with your friends and family.

*If you would like to donate an item or service for the basket, please contact us. All donations are welcome and encouraged.

I can vouch for Dr. D’Amore’s beautiful art work. I bought the calendar she produced to support Freetown Farm at Christmas and every page is gorgeous. A small donation on your part in the form of raffle tickets might very well score you a bountiful basket of artistic treasures. 

This description of the program makes me wish I had grown up this way:

The Roots & Wings program is run at Freetown Farm, our 6.4 acre organic farm in Columbia. Farm-based education is among the most effective and promising forms of environmental, experiential, and place-based education because of the innate ability in people to connect to farms. Farm-based education promotes life values by relating to the social, moral, cognitive, and emotional aspects of the human experience and it provides hands-on learning that builds confidence, self-awareness, and individual and collective responsibility which leads to the sustainable stewardship of our world.

What a great investment in the future, too.

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