Thursday, June 28, 2018

Good Citizen Challenge: Reading Frederick Douglass With the Vermont Humanities Council

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 3:58 PM

Frederick Douglass
  • Frederick Douglass
In 1852, Frederick Douglass was invited to speak at an event in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But the abolitionist orator's speech was not a celebratory one.

“Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?” he asked his mostly white audience.

Douglass had been born into slavery, and had escaped; he later purchased his freedom. He spent years denouncing the evils of slavery before the advent of the Civil War, and penned a fiery speech for that "Independence Day."

"This Fourth of July is yours, not mine," he declared. "You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

Every year around the Fourth of July, the Vermont Humanities Council helps organize and promote readings of Douglass' speech at venues around the state. The first of this year's readings — performed by local volunteers — takes place on Friday, June 29, on the Quechee green. The last one is on Tuesday, July 31 at the South Burlington Public Library. There are 27 in total, and they're all free to attend.

The events present a unique opportunity to talk with kids about the complicated history of freedom and independence in the United States. And this year, attending one is worth 20 points on the Good Citizen Challenge, Kids VT's summertime civics initiative for Vermont youth. Find more information here.

There's still time to organize your own Douglass event — and that's worth 40 points. Kids can also rather read or listen to it on their own for 10 points.

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In Season: Berry Picking

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 1:26 PM

Nothing says summer like freshly picked berries. In July and August, blueberries and raspberries ripen and families flock to Vermont fields to pick the sweet jewels to blend into ice pops, bake into cakes or just snack on as nature made them. To help you enjoy the berry-picking season, we asked Tracey Medeiros, author of The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook, for some tips for a successful berry-picking outing.

We also rounded up 13 local farms where you can pick your own berries. And, in case you’re not sure what to do with all your bounty, we offer two simple recipes from Medeiros to help you make the most of the short but sweet berry season.

•Bring your own containers (recycled from last season if possible) and an empty cooler with ice packs so the fruit doesn’t wilt on the drive home.
• Wear a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. Carry organic bug spray to keep the insects at bay.
• To stay hydrated while picking, pack a frozen water bottle.
• Go early in the day to avoid picked-over berries.

  • Courtesy of Adam's Berry Farm
Vermont offers a bounty of berry farms. Here's a sampling. Be sure to call ahead or check the farm’s website or Facebook page to ensure they are open before you head out!

• Adam’s Berry Farm, 985 Bingham Brook Road, Charlotte,

• Brown’s Beautiful Blueberries, 493 Coburn Hill Road, Craftsbury,

• Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, 225 Pavillion Road, East Thetford,

• Charlotte Berry Farm, 4702 U.S. Route 7, Charlotte,

• Fisher Brothers Farm, 4947 Spear Street, Shelburne,

• Full Belly Farm, 686 Davis Road, Hinesburg (Find them on Facebook.)

• Hartshorn Organic Farm, 54 Quarry Road, Waitsfield,

• Isham Family Farm, 3515 Oak Hill Road, Williston,

• Knoll Farm, 700 Bragg Farm Road, Waitsfield,

• Owl’s Head Blueberry Farm, 263 Blueberry Farm Road, Richmond,

• River Berry Farm, 191 Goose Pond Road, Fairfax,

• Sam Mazza’s You-Pick Berries, 277 Lavigne Road, Colchester,

• Sunshine Valley Organic Berry Farm, 129 Ranger Road, Rochester,

Blueberry-Almond Sour Cream Cake - COURTESY OF TRACEY MEDEIROS
  • Courtesy of Tracey Medeiros
  • Blueberry-Almond Sour Cream Cake

Blueberry-Almond Sour Cream Cake
From The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook (Skyhorse Publishing, October 2017) by Tracey Medeiros

The fresh blueberries keep this cake nice and moist. Serve the cake on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream. Any leftover cake should be covered and refrigerated.

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

Blueberry Filling
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Almond Topping
2 large eggs
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (preferably from an unwaxed lemon)
1/3 to 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Method of Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

2. To make the crust: In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and almond extracts until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the flour and baking powder until the dough starts to come together. Continue to mix with your hands until you have a consistent dough. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan.

3. To make the blueberry filling: In a separate medium bowl, gently toss the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and nutmeg together. Pour the blueberry mixture evenly over the dough.

4. To make the almond topping: In a clean medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until well combined. Pour over the blueberry filling and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top.

5. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is set, about 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely.

6. To unmold the cake, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, and gently release the sides of the pan. Set the cake, supported by the springform base, onto a cake plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve at room temperature or chilled.
  • Courtesy of Tracey Medeiros
  • Raspberry sorbet
Fresh Raspberry Sorbet
From The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook (Skyhorse Publishing, October 2017) by Tracey Medeiros

(This recipe requires an ice cream maker. Medeiros recommends the Cuisinart ICE-60W Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker or the Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet and Ice Cream Maker)

This light and fruity homemade sorbet is the quintessential summer crowd-pleaser - at its best when there’s a bumper crop of freshly picked ripe raspberries from your garden, pick-your-own farm, or at your local farmers’ market. “Simply said, this is one of my favorite summertime treats.” – Adam Hausmann, Adam's Berry Farm

5 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/4 cups organic cane sugar
1 cups water, preferably filtered or distilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh mint leaves

Method of Preparation:
1. Bring the raspberries, sugar, and water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and to a simmer and cook until most of the berries have fallen apart, about 3 minutes.

2. Strain the raspberry mixture through a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the berries with the back of a large spoon, into a clean container to remove the seeds. When the berry mash is cool enough to handle, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and gently squeeze out any excess juice into the container with the raspberry syrup. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, stirring until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3. Pour the sorbet mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s direction. Transfer the sorbet to a large airtight container, and freeze until sorbet is firm, approximately 3 hours. Scoop the sorbet into bowls and top each serving with a mint leaf.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Good Citizen Challenge Flag Day Bonus

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 1:21 PM

Thursday, June 14, is Flag Day!

In honor of this national holiday celebrating the Stars and Stripes, we’re adding a 10-point bonus activity to the Good Citizen Challenge, our summertime civics project for Vermont youth.

Here's the Flag Day bonus activity:

Explain what the stars, stripes and colors of the flag represent.

When you send in your Challenge scorecard, be sure to add your response to your other work and note the 10-point activity in your final total. The deadline to complete the Challenge is October 9, but the first 100 students to finish will receive a Good Citizen T-shirt!

Find a Challenge scorecard in the June, July, August and September issues of Kids VT — available at more than 700 locations around Vermont — or download a scorecard from

Hint: You can find out more about the flag on the official government site, Learn some fun flag facts here.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Good Citizen Challenge Underway!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 4:06 PM

What are the three branches of government? Who is the treasurer of Vermont? What is Vermont's state motto?

The answers to these and other civics-related questions will earn you points in the Good Citizen Challenge, a summertime project Kids VT and our sister publication, Seven Days, launched at the end of May. You'll find a Challenge scorecard inside the June, July, August and September issues of Kids VT; you can also download one at

Jill Warrington of Shelburne shared this photo of her family at a stop on the African-American Heritage Trail as part of the challenge. - JILL WARRINGTON
  • Jill Warrington
  • Jill Warrington of Shelburne shared this photo of her family at a stop on the African-American Heritage Trail as part of the challenge.
We're inviting K-12 students across the state to take the Challenge, and earn points by visiting historic sites, learning about their communities and answering questions like these. Participants who earn 251 points — the number of towns in Vermont — can send in their scorecards to receive a Good Citizen medal, and an invitation to a reception at the Vermont Statehouse, where they'll meet state officials and be recognized for their work.

The first 100 youth to complete the Challenge will also receive a Good Citizen T-shirt.

To help you in your quest, we'll be posting regular updates here about Good Citizen-related events and bonus opportunities that didn't make it onto the scorecard.

For example, this weekend, June 8 and 9, are Vermont Days at all Vermont State Parks and State Historic Sites. That means admission is FREE! A visit to those historic sites will earn you 10 points each. This is a great opportunity to knock a few of them off your list!

And mark your calendar for the Vermont Humanities Council's Reading Frederick Douglass events, which take place in towns all across the state around Independence Day, the Fourth of July.

At these free gatherings, volunteers will read a fiery speech given by abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass in 1852, when he was asked to speak about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. So far, towns hosting events include: Jeffersonville, Jamaica, Ferrisburgh (Rokeby Museum), Wallingford, St. Johnsbury, Colchester, Norwich, Montpelier, Wilmington, Barre, Randolph, North Hero and South Hero.

Reading or listening to the speech on your own is worth 10 points. Attending one of those events is worth 20 points. Organizing an event of your own is worth 40 points!

Help Us Spread the Word

Kids VT managing editor Alison Novak and executive editor Cathy Resmer have been visiting classrooms and talking with families across the state about the Challenge, and about ways that students can learn about our shared civic heritage.

We've also been hearing about youth who are doing the Challenge and have already racked up dozens of points. It's so exciting to get those messages! If you're one of those folks who is working on the Challenge, please send us a note to let us know, and share evidence of your work. It will help inspire others to give the Challenge a try!
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camps central

Merck Forest & Farmland Center

Merck Forest & Farmland Center

Rupert, VT

Join us at Merck Forest & Farmland Center this summer as we experience and explore the woodlands, fields, farm, and waterways through week-long day camps. From 1st to 8th grade, we offer kids opportunities to immerse themselves in nature through self-guided and guided discovery. Whether you’re looking to dig into…(more)

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