By Gail Cochran, Friends of Phillips Farm board member
This summer children ages seven to ten are invited to attend the Palouse Pioneer Day Camp at Phillips Farm, sponsored by Latah County Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Phillips Farm with support from the Co-op’s A Dime in Time.
The camp honors the memory of Virgil Phillips, who bequeathed his 160-acre primitive land five miles north of Moscow on Highway 95 for children’s outdoor experiences. Pioneer Camp will take place July 20-24, July 27-31 and August 3-7. Children can attend one, two, or all three weeks.
Virgil Edemoss Phillips was born in Moscow on December 12, 1912. He lived and farmed the property from 1944 - 1972, after which he bequeathed his farm to the City of Moscow "for the benefit and use of the children of Moscow for recreational purposes." Though little evidence of his home remains on the property, visitors can still enjoy the plum and apple trees he nurtured.
The Friends of Phillips Farm have planted the Margaret Littlejohn Heirloom Orchard and enclosed it to protect it from deer and elk. The Friends have also planted a small vineyard for hungry visitors with help from the Moscow High School Environmental Club, as well as a pumpkin patch and sunflower garden which provide treats for birds and souvenirs for children who attend the Fall Festival/Open House.
Phillips Farm Park has primitive hiking trails that lead through a variety of habitats, including forested lands, open fields and wetlands. The park includes several intermittent streams and two ponds. It is home to native Palouse species such as moose, elk, deer, black bear, and many birds and amphibians. Children attending Pioneer Camp will explore the landscape and learn about natural and managed ecosystems and the Native American and pioneer history of the Palouse bioregion through a wide variety of activities. These include shelter building, observing pond critters, learning about medicinal plants, Dutch oven cooking, ice cream and butter making, a mock archaeological dig, plant pressing, making pictographs, and playing old fashioned games.
The park is owned by the City of Moscow, managed by Latah County Parks and Recreation, and promoted by Friends of the Phillips Farm. The Friends’ Fall Festival/Open House offers live music, cider pressing, demonstrations of bee keeping and birds of prey, horse-drawn wagon rides, and modestly priced fresh-pressed cider and lunch. The public is invited year-round for bird watching, hiking, dog walking, picnics, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, sky gazing, and general outdoor experiences for individuals and groups.
The Friends of Phillips Farm are delighted to be the recipient of the Co-op’s A Dime in Time program. The collected dimes will help sustain our summer camp by providing partial need-based scholarships and supplies as well as supplementing teacher salaries and teen helper stipends. Our thanks to the patrons and the Co-op for partnering with us so children can have a valuable outdoor summer experience at Phillips Farm. To enroll your child in the Palouse Pioneer Day Camp visit the staff at the Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center or call 883-7084. You can register online at http://www.ci.moscow.id.us/. For more information about the park, visit friendsofphillipsfarm.weebly.com/about-phillips-farm.