What lies beneath
Students at Kindle Farm School practice metal detecting this spring.

What lies beneath

Students at Kindle Farm School unearth artifacts from the past with the help of a program supervisor and his metal detector

NEWFANE — Kindle Farm School High School Program Supervisor Kendall Edkins has been hosting weekly metal detecting classes at the school for high school and middle school students.

Edkins, of Walpole, N.H., said when he scouts locations to search for artifacts buried beneath the ground, he focuses on the history.

“Everything kind of has some history,” he said.

Edkins said that Brattleboro has a lot of fields and old homes, and “my personal favorite places to go are like the old foundations, cellar walls out in the woods, and stuff like that.”

For several years, Edkins has been running this class at the school, which teaches students who struggle in a traditional classroom setting.

The school, a division of the nonprofit Health Care and Rehabilitative Services, gives students “the opportunities to discover individual interests and personal passions,” according to its website.

The facility “serves boys and young men from Windham and southern Windsor counties in Vermont and Cheshire and Sullivan counties in New Hampshire with a variety of emotional, behavioral, neurological, and learning needs.”

Edkins said he decided to start teaching metal detecting - a hobby he's pursued for “six or seven years” - because he has been working with kids for a long time and was excited to share something he was so interested in doing.

“It's one thing to read it in a book or have your social studies teacher tell you about it,” he said. “But it's a different thing to be out at some old place and maybe have the property owner tell you about when the house was built, and then actually get to dig something up.”

He said he and his students have found some interesting items, such as a Revolutionary War–era pocket knife, a silver thimble, and some old coins from around the early 1800s or possibly the late 1700s.

“For me, it's just like an opportunity to connect with these guys. And, you know, being a caring adult in their life and, hopefully, help them move forward,” Edkins said.

He said he also believes this class and the others provided by the school help the kids with some of their struggles.

“I think a lot of what we do is based on this idea of therapeutic recreation. And so I'm really fortunate to get to be part of, or to run, this metal detecting class. I also do a primitive skills, wilderness kind of class with students that I support,” Edkins said.

He wants his students to get a love of history out of this class.

“I just think, in general, when you're holding artifacts, relics from days gone by, it gives you respect for human beings and their ingenuity and the people who came before us,” he said.

“I hope kids can grab a hold a little bit of that. And I think I hope that it helps them be more interested in history,” said Edkins, who tries to find opportunities to connect his students with “people in our larger community.”

“For the school, we're always looking to add cool new activities that are going to get kids excited,” he said. “We're really growing like all of our programs pretty quickly right now. And working on finding new spaces and new talent to offer cool new things for kids.”

Kindle Farm is looking to hire for the summer and for the next school year.

“If you were to come work here, you would have an opportunity to bring the things that you're passionate about and your interests to school and teach kids and have that cool, fun way to connect,” Edkins said.

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