Wind Dance News

March 1st, 2012

Annual Report Fall 2017


                  Wind Dance is bustling as we continue our year-round programs. Our students are involved with a variety of educational activities.

Environmental education exploration includes learning about how the earth’s systems function, along with hands-on experiential learning with stream, field, and forest studies. Teens participated in our first Envirothon competition and placed tenth out of thirty teams. Not bad for our first time. A lot of preparation and training prepared the teens and Leslie, including a presentation about an environmental and farming issue that they needed to find solutions to. We are real proud of them.

Literature is an important part of the day with all programs. John and Leslie read to groups as students and campers knit, weave, draw, or simply sit in quiet. Jean Craighead George is our favorite author. The readings often guide the science and environmental concepts we explore.

The gardens are a lively place and used for one of our classrooms. Groups participate in all aspects of growing food: building compost piles, learning nutrient cycles, preparing, planting, and protecting garden beds, seed saving, and eating food they grow. They also study herbs and their benefits.

Busy we are, and we are expanding! Field Trips for Public Schools is a new endeavor. We are working with Morgan County third grade teachers to provide spring environmental education experiences. This has been a goal for a long time, and we look forward to branching out with our environmental education efforts.


Conservation is a part of all programs. We have eradicated piles of invasive knapweed and planted milkweed in their place. We plant trees and shrubs, and raise and release monarch butterflies.

Students are working with a local nonprofit organization, Cacapon Institute, in managing rain water runoff from Bently’s roof as an effort to protect our watersheds. They are designing rain gardens and planning a water management system that involves capturing rainwater and directing it to various, barrels, gardens, and a pond.

Students also participate in Citizen Science projects with Cornell University Ornithology Lab. Their observations are recorded for Project Feeder Watch and Nest Watch, and with The North American Hawk Migration Watch students assist in monitoring raptors. They also build and monitor bluebird boxes.


                  Volunteers are invaluable to our sustainability. More than 95 volunteers have assisted with development of the education center, over 30 volunteers assisted with general maintenance, and 10 volunteers with educational programs, for a grand total of over 135 volunteers. In addition, the volunteer board of eight operates under consensus, sharing ideas and performing tasks.

Many skilled volunteers have shared energy, tools, and advice, and have worked together to get the education center rooted and standing strong. Students and campers pitch in too. They are happy to pick up saws and hammers for projects.

For the past two years we have participated in the Morgan County Volunteer of the Year Award. The board honored Tim Newton in 2016 and Michael Brooks in 2017.


Bently, our Education Center, is getting a coat! Last year it was a beautiful hat – the roofing system was finished with recycled tiles that look like slate. The walls, windows, and doors are ordered, and we wait for final details before they are delivered. The walls are SIPS (structurally insulated panels). We are so pleased with the roofing SIPS, that we decided to do the same for the walls. The SIPS are from Acme Panels made in neighboring Virginia with solar energy. The doors and windows are coming from a local supplier, Master Supply, in Maryland with a welcomed 15% discount. Mountain View Solar, based in Berkeley Springs, is guiding our water and electric system, and contributing many supplies and panels to keep us off grid!   We appreciate working with local companies and great folks. We have been using Bently during warm weather as a huge pavilion, especially for summer camps. We plan to be out of our cramped basement that we have occupied for sixteen years and in the new center this winter!

A Gracious Gift

We received a gift from Wind Dance’s adoptive grandparents, David and Nina Schwartz, who remembered us in their will – a huge support that is helping to get Bently warm. We are ever so grateful for their love for Wind Dance. Nina, who was a librarian, also gifted us her children’s library – a treasure of wonderful literature. We were so happy David could be during the frame raising of Bently. He was too!

Financial Report for Jan-Dec. 2016


Program Income      38,907.00

Donations                   12,957.70

Fund Raising Events   2,864.00

Grants                            1,000.00


Total Income              55,728.70


 Salaries                          25,310.00

Program Expenses       5,064.76

Management Expenses   4,316.32

(includes office supplies,insurances)

Rent                                5,500.00

Annual Mailing                   727.75

& Fund Raising Events

Education Center             27,741.00



Total Expenses:               68,659.83



Earth Day
Is on the rain date –  Sunday
April 23, 2017!

See Fund Raising Page for more information.


Wind Dance Adventure Camps 

Embrace the Earth 

Exploring Nature, Farm, and Wilderness!

Located on a farm in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, Wind Dance Camps are unique and wonderful. There are day camps and overnight camps. Camps are small with a delightful ratio of campers to guides, full of great engaging activities that build community while exploring nature, learning wilderness skills, milking goats, cooking and baking, munching wholesome foods – some from the farm, having quiet siesta every day, fun evening activities, and so much more!   Each camper participates in a conservation effort, which can be applied towards community service credit.

Leslie Devine-Milbourne and John Devine, founders of the non-profit, Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center, have been managing the camps with seasoned camp guides for 16 years. Camps are now taking place at the new educational center! The site hosts a beautiful timber frame building, with delightful spots for overnight camps. Registration for camps is available on this website on the camp option pages, or by contacting Leslie & John at 304 258 4672 or   For more information and photos and albums of last years camps visit our facebook page

Comments about Wind Dance Programs:

“Wind Dance Farm is a special place where children learn through unlimited, hands on, nature filled experiences.”      parent

“Sometimes I just wish that I could live in a house in the middle of nowhere on a farm with a few dogs and a garden to keep me alive. It makes me love the fact that many people should honor nature as I do now.   I came to this point by being in nature and learning about it at Wind Dance. I recognize that if a bunch of other kids could come to a camp like this and milk goats and feed chickens and be in the middle of nature then they will come to like nature too.”                    camper

Youth Camp 2016

“I was tucking my daughter in for bed and these were her exact words: ‘Wind Dance is so great. It’s the best thing in the whole world. It’s better than dessert.’ WOW! Better than dessert?! That is big-time praise coming from a 5 year old who loves her desserts! She also went on to say this: ‘Leslie is so nice. I love her as much as the whole world.’ I think she will be seeing you all in her dreams tonight. Thanks for all the amazing things you’ve done for both of my girls.”                                                                                                                        Parent of WD students and day campers

We offer Day and Overnight Camps.  Detailed information about the camps can be viewed on this website.  For more information you are welcomed to call or email Leslie & John at 304 258 4672   You may enjoy postings on the Facebook page: Wind Dance Farm and Earth Education Center.

post Feb. 16, 2016

Bently is up!

The Frame Raising in November 2015 was fantastic!  Bently is up, looking splendid, and now waiting out the snow.  Terrific talented timber framer raisers, Bruce Cowie and Al Thomas, completed prep work prior to the raising, and then oversaw a host of volunteers in raising the frame. Gourmet cook, Genesee Bondurant, and kitchen volunteers kept us well fed.  It was amazing!  Without Bruce and Al, the crane, the crane operator, and a host of wonderful volunteers Bently would still be flat.  Witnessing the bents rise off the ground was deeply amazing – the trees rose again guided by wise and gentle hands, and came to rest in their new home.  Where did the name Bently come from?  After the raising one of our students walked up to the building, gave it few gentle pats and said, “Hi Bently.”  That was it!  The students at Wind Dance have been involved with all aspects of Bently’s growth, which has given them ownership and love for the center.  Enjoy the many photos of Bently rising!  And… thank you so very much for your past and continued support.
Al, Bruce, and a host of volunteers!

Enjoy a few views of Bently..

post November 2015

The Frame is Raising! Please join us!

Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center

Berkeley Springs, WV

Saturday and Sunday, November 7 & 8, 2015

9:00 a.m. through the end of the workday

Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education is building a Farm & Earth Education Center utilizing the earth’s resources carefully.   Many fundraisers have supported getting the building in motion. Several stages have been implemented and we are ready for the next leap – the raising of the frame for the second level – traditional timber framing with pegs – no nails, and a hand carved frame. A crane is coming to raise the frame and we invite you to come for part or all weekend!

Please RSVP at or call 304 258 4672

For directions to Wind Dance Farm see “Who and Where We Are”

If you want to stay over, you can

  • Camp at Wind Dance, Fri., Nov 6, 5:00 pm – Mon., Nov 8, 5:00 pm, no charge. Bring your tent or camper, food, means of cooking, water, and instruments! Water can be refilled on site.

Or try:

For more information visit our facebook page, and kickstarter sight – a four min. video is on kickstarter on the campaign section.

 This is a sketch of a bent.  There are 6 bents that will be placed on the second level.Bent1Scan


The raising of the first level begins!


Teens lend a hand!


Students driving pegs into a bent.


Leslie’s son, Keith, made a  timber frame hammer and it is being used to drive a peg!


Aiming to insert the tenon into the mortise.




Tim Newton, board member, designed the building.  His name will be inserted into the mortise forever!


Ragtime adds a trick to the trade!


Marilyn helps prepare a meal for Timber Framer, Bruce and volunteer, Mike.


Getting er done!


Mike completed the floor with a trap door – sitting ready for the second level!




Posted August 24, 2015

We did it! Three years in the making – four Wind Dance students and the perfect illustrator and publisher created this important historical fiction book about the Battle of Blair Mountain between coal companies and miners in 1921, and the destructive act of Mountain Top Removal. An important book for all ages! One of the authors, Lillie,is pictured below  reading the book to campers.  The songs noted at the end of the book will be available soon, as they are being edited following recording.  Enjoy the write up from the publisher…..

A long and tedious bus ride turns into a sometimes-funny and often-revealing adventure for four West Virginia school children who begin to explore a timeworn mining town in the state’s southern coalfields.
Ninety years earlier the town had been at the center of a war between coal companies and striking miners. Now, a modern-day battle brews as marchers from around the country
rally to stop the companies from destroying mountains by extracting coal using a practice called “mountaintop removal.”
Leaving the march to the grownups, the four children split off only to be confronted by a boy whose father works for
a coal company and another from a family being forced from their home by the mining operations.
At the edge of a wood they stumble upon a weathered cabin and encounter an extraordinary woman who
witnessed the first battle ninety years earlier and fights to this day to save her precious mountain. Nibbling the old
lady’s homemade bread and sipping her sassafras root beer, the children begin to ask about her life as a coal miner’s daughter. What unfolds is a compelling tale unlike any the four schoolmates have ever heard. They come away from the visit with an understanding of life in coal country no classroom can provide.
Written for children by children, Saving Annie’s Mountain is a remarkable story of fortitude and resilience in the heart of the Appalachians.
by Children of Wind Dance Farm
Lillie Gill-Newton Maryam Keeley, Nicholas Mokhiber Samantha Stewart
Illustrations by O’Ryan
AvAilAble At bookstores And
Cold Run Books is a member of IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association

Wind Dance Farm and Earth Education Center's photo.
Wind Dance Farm and Earth Education Center's photo.
Wind Dance Farm and Earth Education Center's photo.
Wind Dance Farm and Earth Education Center's photo.

John Devine & Steve Hickman

In Concert Friday, March 13, 2015!
At the Ice House – 7pm

138 Independence Street, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411


John Devine and Steve Hickman are traditional musicians whose extraordinary talents have been appreciated by followers of traditional music and dance for over thirty years. John and Steve provide entertainment at its finest with fine fiddle tunes, heart warming and funny songs with beautiful harmonies, and amazing hamboning. John’s delightfully strong and gentle voice reveals his exceptional singing, and his picking and rhythmic strumming provide strength as Steve’s bow flies sweetly across the strings. They are appreciated and delighted by youth and folks of all ages, as their concerts have audiences laughing, clapping and singing along. John and Steve bring strong musicianship, a lively stage presence and an aura of authenticity to the music they present. The music they play is highly varied, from sophisticated turn of the century music, to the laid back songs of country living. Their repertoire includes original songs and tunes, as well as songs from Old-time and folk traditions. They have performed from the east to west coast, into Alaska, and across the Atlantic.


New Date for Migratory Bird Day   Wednesday, May 14, 2014  8am!

International Migratory Bird Day

at Wind Dance Farm

International Migratory Bird Day and young cartographers! International Migratory Bird Day at Wind Dance Farm is rescheduled for Wed. May 14 at 8am! Potomac Audubon Society member Sandy Sagalkin will stroll with us around Wind Dance enhancing our observations of birds and their habitats. Students are making maps of  Wind Dance so we can identify trails to stroll on. Come if you can! 304 258 4672

For more information on events with Potomac Audubon Society and to view a brochure visit or contact: Potomac Valley Audubon Society http://www. P.O. Box 578, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 Phone: 304-676-3397


May 3, 2013

Our homeschool groups have been very busy as the school year comes to a close. All the groups have successfully hatched out 15 chicks from eggs gathered from our chickens.  We feel very successful, especially since we had zero luck with the same project in the fall while studying embryology.

The Tuesday group is wrapping up a science experiment that focuses on applying different water solutions to marigold plants:  1.  rain water, 2. manure tea, and 3. one year old compost tea.  So far it is a toss up between numbers 2 and 3!  We have one more week to make observations and then our conclusion.  The group has also been building a shelter out of all natural materials, writing a report on porcupines, and reading Where’s Inky, a story about a porcupine on a sanctuary and its interactions with the men that live there.

The Wednesday group is bringing to a close their study of Maya Indians.  We have learned a lot of interesting aspects about the Maya through researching together and compiling the information into a codice – an accordion style book simulating what the Maya used for their records.   The group is also writing a lot of creative stories and the teens are preparing for a public speaking presentation.  They chose topics of their choice.

The Thursday group has been studying the value of wetlands and building five different types of wetland models.  We went to Stauffer’s Marsh and identified twenty bird species, a stink pot turtle and a black snake.  The marsh was once drained for  a farm and has been restored as a marsh.   The group is creating a brochure for Stauffer’s Marsh on the value of wetlands.  John has been reading Cry of the Crow, by Jean Craighead George.  It is about a farm family and crows trying to inhabit the same territory – the Everglades.

The remaining two weeks will be busy as we are also beginning our Community Supported Agriculture season.  We delivered 12 boxes of food to CSA members on Wednesday.  May 1 was our first delivery and had a box of wonderful vegetables, many of which we overwintered.   We are coming to a close on the homeschool programs and diving into the CSA and preparing for the camps.  Live is good and busy at Wind Dance!

Wind Dance Happenings

March, 2012

A news letter from the homeschool groups will be available soon!  In brief, the Wednesday Teen Group has just finished reading a biography about Henry David Thoreau, A Mind With Wings.  Following this reading we will explore Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau.  Each week the group discusses quotes of Henry David Thoreau and then writes a reflection in their journals.  The group is exploring energy from the sun – photosynthesis, respiration, the food chain, food web, and photovoltaic cells.   In the fall the group gathered soil samples from different locations on the farm and tested the soil for pH, potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous.  They researched  the different elements and how they apply to plant growth.

The Thursday group, ages 6-12, are exploring ornithology, they study of birds – dissecting owl pellets, experimenting with lift, down feathers, honing observation skills, observing, recording and working with Cornell’s ornithology programs bird counts and nest watch.  Together we are reading Holling Clancy Holling’s book, Seabird, and keeping journals.  For art the group created beautiful bird paintings, which are displayed in town at the art building, The Ice House.  They are also monitoring the temperature of a compost pile they created back in the fall.   The compost pile is layered with carbon rich straw and nitrogen rich manure.  It is the pile they add their lunch compost to.

The Monday group has finished their study of Family History and Heritage Countries.  We are beginning to study about the Mayan Indians, beginning with the location and time, the land,  history, farming techniques, and the animals. We are reading Me Mayo.




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