Farms looking for a few good tour guides

SHELBURNE - Quite a package - a chance to learn about history, art, agriculture, education, ecology and sustainability, and sharing all that knowledge with curious visitors, while making new friends and supporting the valuable mission of one of Vermont's icons. All that and more is wrapped up in the role of a Shelburne Farms volunteer tour guide.

The tour guides at Shelburne Farms are the dedicated team of volunteers who communicate the story of Shelburne Farms and its mission to the visitors who come for property tours during the mid-May to mid-October season. Judy Brook of South Burlington, coordinator of the tour guide program, describes the tour guides as "life-long learners, men and women, who enjoy creating a connection between the local story and an audience that comes from around the world."

As a new tour season approaches, Shelburne Farms is inviting anyone who would be interested in becoming a volunteer tour guide to sign up for the new tour guide course. Stimulating classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Farm Barn, for eight weeks beginning on March 5 and will include presentations by Shelburne Farms staff members, hands on activities and a discussion of the pedagogy of teaching and tour guiding. New tour guides also spend some time shadowing more experienced tour guides before beginning to lead tours. Typically a tour guide leads one two-hour tour a week and attends a potluck dinner or class once a month.

In addition to the satisfaction of getting to know more about Shelburne Farms, its programs and its mission, tour guides receive free farm membership, get a discount at the welcome center and farm store, and are invited to special events.

If you're asking for a description of a typical tour guide, know that they are teachers, history buffs, readers, hands on learners, gregarious, keen on spreading the word about sustainability - walking the walk as well as talking the talk. As Judy Brook says, "This is a very different opportunity in a very different place to make a difference."

For further information, contact Judy Brook at jbrook@shelburnefarms.org or 865-0557 or come to the first tour guide training on Thursday, March 5.

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