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It took Karen Zachow of New Durham about 45 minutes to clear the weeds from this patch Wednesday to allow the six-inch tall corn to grow. A group of volunteers is forming to help speed up this time-consuming process to turn a cornfield into a maze at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills for children in August. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)

Volunteers needed to weed, maintain Milton Mills corn maze for kids

MILTON — Spare hands are needed to help keep the weeds out of the cornfield that will be turned into the "amazing maze" for children in August.

Cynthia Wyatt said volunteers are needed to weed and mulch the sweet corn seedlings during weekends.

Karen Zachow and Jeff Perry, both of New Durham, spent Wednesday pulling weeds to allow the corn to grow in an 80-foot by 100-foot plot.

"It's real hard when the corn is short," Zachow said. "These weeds look like corn."

Zachow said the weeds need to be removed to allow the corn, which was planted in a pattern to form the maze, to grow. At this point, she added, the weeds will steal valuable nutrients, space and sunlight away from the cornstalks, which are about six inches tall.

"It's a pretty slow process," Zachow said, adding it's worth it since kids have so much fun navigating the maze each year.

The corn maze is one of several attractions available at the 11th annual Woods, Water and Wildlife Festival, scheduled for Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This family-friendly celebration of the natural world, held rain or shine, is underwritten by the Siemon Company and Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust.

All proceeds support the land conservation and educational outreach missions of Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG). The cost is $5 per person, $10 per family and free to kids 12 and under and for MMRG members.

As hayrides have continually been the most popular activity, a second hay-wagon trip will be offered this year. Participants can learn about the plants and animals that live along the Salmon Falls River and take a ride through a working tree farm to tour another ecosystem.Along with many returning events, members of the Greater Seacoast Permaculture Gardening will show how to create a garden without digging, Chuck Doughty will put on a home brewing demonstration and Smokey the Bear will stop by to help firefighters.

Additionally, kids can play on an outdoor "green gym" with a rope swing, playhouse and tree deck among the ferns and pine trees.

There will also be a variety of animals from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and Ruth Scruton's Traveling Barnyard. Meanwhile John Cooley from the Loon Center will use a stuffed loon and egg to talk about the distinctive bird's recovery.

Members of the UNH Cooperative Extension program plan to show how exotic species, like Asian Longhorn beetles, are a danger to local forests while Seacoast Beekeepers will bring a demonstration hive to talk about bees and honey.

Participants can also take an early morning ride with the Piscataqua Hounds, hear live music from the York River Ramblers Band, go fishing with members of N.H. Fish & Game Department, see a portable saw mills, learn to split rocks and build stone walls, take a hike while identifying trees

For more information and to see a complete list of activities, go to mmg.info/festival.

Those interested in volunteering to work on the corn maze should call Cynthia Wyatt at 473-2535; they should be ready to bring gloves and weeding tools to Branch Hill Farm, at 307 Applebee Road in Milton Mills.jquinn@newstote.com



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