It’s All Just Part of the Routine, Apprentices at Merck Forest

Before chores, the farm staff gathers in the maintenance building office. If it’s chillier out, like this morning, mugs of tea and coffee line the table, sending steam curls up into the air. Emilie, Carolyn, and Becca know the routine; they’ve been working this schedule for nearly 8 months as part of their year-long apprenticeship.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMerck Forest wouldn’t be able to do nearly as much without apprentices. These three women have been so critical in further developing the farm.

This year, “the girls” have had a hand in everything that happens at this non-profit: animal husbandry, plowing, planting, harvesting, trail work, farm planning, education programming, and decision-making. They get to put on their chaps and buck up logs with chainsaws, and make educational crafts with school groups. They’ve offered ideas for how to increase the visitor-friendly atmosphere; they’ve hoed and raked the growing garden patches and fields.

Patient, caring, questioning, and wicked smart—Carolyn, Emilie, and Becca are awesome to work with, and they always make the time to answer the queries that come from visitors: little kids all the way up to the adults.If you want to know about Merck Forest, ask one of them. They live, work, sweat, and laugh here; it’s all just a part of the routine. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Apprentices are undeniably important to our operations, and apprenticeships provide young adults ten months to develop their farming skills and understanding of the non-profit sector. Many future blog posts, similar to many of the former ones, will be directly from Carolyn, Emilie, and Becca (and future apprentices).