71° 30' 21" W
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The EarthView team is excited to be visiting Blanchard Memorial School in Boxboro for the first time today! Our visit today is a long way from home, about 62 miles from BSU but we have traveled much farther before into Middlesex County, like our visit to Tewksbury back in March.
While the town name is officially spelled Boxborough, it is spelled 'Boxboro' on many highway signs and on official documents, making both spellings of the word correct. This is much like quite a few towns in Massachusetts that end in the word "borough", which means, "an incorporated municipality smaller then a city", including Foxborough (Foxboro), Middleborough (Middleboro) and Marlborough (Marlboro).
Some fun facts about Boxboro are that as of the 2010 census, only 4,996 people lived in town. In comparison, that is roughly half of the enrolled undergraduates at Bridgewater State University! Boxboro is home to only one elementary school, the one that we are visiting today! Blanchard Memorial is now a part of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District and students who enter the 7th grade and beyond attend school in nearby Acton. The town is also home to a glacial esker that is over 1 mile in length and is located at the Beaver Valley Preserve.
Over the weekend, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan was listening to NPR and he happened to hear of something that we would all be interested in! He heard a story of the island, Zanzibar, and the spices that are produced there.
Zanzibar island is also known as "Spice Island" because it sits in the crosswind of the ancient Eastern Trade Route between Asia and Europe and became a plantation for the growing of spices. Today, it is a large producer of Vanilla, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.
When listening to the report on Zanzibar, we learned some interesting thing such as how finicky the Vanilla Orchid is! The Orchid only flowers once a year and the farmers have to pollinate each flower by hand. If the flower is not pollinated by noon that same day then it dies. This is why pure vanilla is so expensive because it takes a lot of work to make, so we are more apt to find the synthetic (artificial) variety in our local stores.
Another interesting thing to note is that the laurel tree that Cinnamon grows on has multiple uses! Not only does it produce the cinnamon that we love to put on our toast, the roots are good for colds as they offer a taste that has hints of eucalyptus, sweet basil and menthol. All things that are good ways to treat the common cold and flu!
We hope you enjoyed learning about these things as much as we did and we hope that the students of Blanchard Memorial enjoyed EarthView's visit!