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Aug 13, 2019 1:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shine Campers Design Walk-In Bird House

Beckett Hutfilz, a 7-year-old, helps decorate the birdhouse. JENNIFER CORR
Aug 13, 2019 1:43 PM

All but one of the birdhouses on display at the second annual “Art and Nature Take Flight” exhibit at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton could be considered “bird-sized,” and all but one birdhouse is available for auction. The larger one is big enough for a human to walk in, and is not for sale. It will remain on the gardens, acting as both an artistic piece and a playhouse.

The large birdhouse was built and donated to Bridge Gardens, which is owned by Peconic Land Trust. Since the wooden birdhouse was in need of some color, the Peconic Land Trust decided to team up with the Hamptons Summer Camp, which is operated by Shine, a New York City-based provider of pop-up classes, workshops, events and camps for kids.

In late June, the garden manager, Rick Bogusch, showed the founding director of Shine, Aaron Goldschmidt, the birdhouse.

“I started crying, because I’m so emotional, and I just thought it was so sweet and generous for them to realize our artistic desires,” Mr. Goldschmidt said. “It felt like such a big responsibility, because this is such a beautiful space and garden. There are beautiful birdhouses in [the main house]. So we wanted to make sure it was special.”

The birdhouse auction, which features the works of two dozen artists, will be open through Saturday, August 17, ending with a closing event set for 4 to 6 p.m., when the winners of the auction will be announced. All proceeds will be donated to the Peconic Land Trust. The big birdhouse will also be unveiled.

Ever since the start of camp, which began on July 1, the kids have been coming to Bridge Gardens every Thursday to do activities, which included contributing to the birdhouse.

“It was cool to see it all come together,” said camper Avery Kelly. “I just like to paint and see what it will turn out like.”

The inspiration for the birdhouse is Vincent van Gogh’s “A Starry Night,” but instead, the birdhouse is covered in bright colors and is an original piece called “A Shiny Day.” Mr. Goldschmidt also hopes to have markers inside the birdhouse so that kids can sign their name or write a message inside the house.

“We love having Shine Camp here every Thursday,” said the senior outreach manager at the Peconic Land Trust, Kathy Kennedy. “What’s nice about it is that they add a lot of energy.”

According to Ms. Kennedy, Mr. Borgusch has enjoyed having the kids at the garden once a week, even allowing them to interact with the gardens. Just recently, the children were able to harvest carrots.

“Today, Rick had to harvest all these carrots, and he had us go down, he let the kids pick the carrots,” Mr. Goldschmidt said. “So, they’re actually getting hands-on gardening experience. They know how to find sorrel, they know how to find mint and they’re really getting this experience of using a garden for what it’s meant for. They also have this beautiful space to run around and make art in, which is pretty inspiring.”

The property was donated in 2008 to thet rust, an organization that preserves land through received donations or property easements. The mission of the garden is to showcase low impact landscaping and gardening. The gardening workshops offered at the garden are designed for the average gardener to learn how to make an eco-friendly garden.

Mr. Goldschmidt also said that many of the parents even enjoy wandering the garden, as they come early for pickup to walk around. He also said that he was surprised that not many knew of the garden that “was in their own backyard,” adding that he is happy to point out the garden to the public eye.

“These kinds of gardens are not just for old garden ladies having lunch,” Mr. Goldschmidt said. “The gardens should be accessible for people of all means, all ages. Gardens are for everyone.”

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