Greenagers learn repair skills, Shaker style

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Photo Gallery | Greenagers at Hancock Shaker Village

PITTSFIELD — Working only by hand, a small group of teenagers pulled rotted slats from the barn roof on Tuesday at Hancock Shaker Village.

In the tradition of Shaker architecture, no power tools would be allowed on the project — repairing a 10-by-12-foot timber frame structure built in the Shaker style during the 1980s.

Once the roof has been pulled, the team will replace the slats with new red cedar and pine wood.

"There's only space for two people at a time on the scaffolding," said William Casey, "so it's slow going."

Casey is project manager for the Great Barrington nonprofit group Greenagers, which is doing repairs at the Hancock Shaker Village in exchange for hosting an event at the village next month.

On Aug. 20, the group will host its 2016 fundraiser "Farmer Olympics" at the village. The end of summer celebration will include events such as "Gourd Toss, Moo Juice Squeeze, Wheelbarrow Race, and Hay Bale Stack," according to the group's website.

"Greenagers are redoing the roof, resecuring the building itself, and clearing out the area behind it to make sure it doesn't get any more damaged," said village President Linda Steigleder. "It's the perfect collaboration. We're thrilled to work with young people."

Village farm director Billy Mangiardi agreed.

"They're learning stonework, roofing," he said. He hopes that the Greenagers will be back to do more work in the future.

"We've rebuilt a 30-foot section of rock wall by hand already," Casey said, pointing to a wall that was struck by a car on the northwest end of the village near Route 20.

The team also will clear out two overgrown islands of weeds in the field behind the building. On Tuesday two young men used scythes to cut down a weed patch on the corner of the building.

It's been a busy summer for the Greenagers, Casey said.

The organization already has worked on the Lake Mansfield Trail in Great Barrington and created a new trail for Stockbridge's Chesterwood museum, home of sculptor Daniel Chester French.

Their presence was welcomed at the Shaker Village.

"It's good to see young people working with their hands, out in the environment," Mangiardi said. "I haven't seen a cell phone all day."


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