“The farm is about providing education to all ages about nature, about where food comes from and about the outdoors through hands-on experiences,” says Elizabeth Engelhardt, a retired University of Dayton early childhood educator who serves on the Learning Tree board and has always believed children do not spend enough time outside.
The farm’s executive director, Heather Ritter, says she’s very excited about celebrating the organization’s anniversary year. “The farm creates a very personal experience where children and families can interact directly with farm animals, a tasting garden, and woods,” she notes. “We have called it, ‘your farm away from home’ because people truly feel like it is their own farm in many ways and we love that it can be so immersive.”
At the moment, the farm staff is getting ready for spring and some new upcoming programs:
- A new volunteer program has been created for families and individuals who love farm work and gardening. Volunteer Days will be held at 10 a.m. the first Saturday of each month. Families can help prep the garden, prepare for upcoming programs and other projects.
- The farm also created a new program, Farm School, for 8-12 year olds. “This Saturday program allows children to dive deeper into the life of a farmer,” explains Ritter. “Our spring session will focus around creating healthy soil for gardening through regenerative agriculture.”
- The farm regularly hosts and educates school children, homeschool groups, parent groups, scouting groups, and families throughout the year. Spring field trips are almost filled to capacity so if you’d like to book your group for summer contact the farm as soon as possible.
- The farm has many other upcoming family programs as well “This is the time of year that the maple trees begin to produce sap for maple syrup,” says Ritter. “We will be hosting a fun, family event from 10 - 11 a.m. Saturday, March 18 where you can see how maple trees produce sap. “We’ll be collecting the sap and boiling it down and guests can taste some syrup,” she says.
- Summer Day Camp registration is now open at the farm with multiple themes and options for little ones! There are three-day camps available for 1st-5th graders: Farm Sampler, Junior Naturalist, and Camp Make and Do. One-day camps are geared to Kindergarten-2nd graders offering themes of Farmer for a Day, Woodland Wanderers, and Creative Critters. Camps run from the 2nd week through the 4th week of July. Visit the website for dates, pricing and registration, https://learningtreefarm.org/summer-camp/.
- The farm has drop-in hours seven days a week with a drop box for admission. Your family can explore the nature playscape, play with the animals, explore the garden, and hike through the woods .
With expanded programming there’s also a greater need for more equipment.
What they need:
- Grooming supplies for ponies and donkeys: brushes, curry combs, mane and tail combs
- Garden carts
- Gas cards
- Stockslagers Garden center or Lowe’s gift card to purchase flowers for field trip students to be able to take home
- Tractor supply gift card for garden supplies and animal feed
- Wood chips for bedding for animals
- Hand clippers
- Loppers quality hand clippers
Items can be dropped off at The Learning Tree Farm, 3376 S. Union Rd, Dayton. The Farm is open from 12:30- 4 p.m. on Sundays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Admission is $5 per person. A Family Farm Pass is $65 for unlimited drop-in-visits.
For more information: www.learningtreefarm.org.
NOTE: Thanks to PNC Bank, families in need of assistance can obtain a free Family Pass — The Grow Up Great Pass — good for a year. For info, visit www.learningtreefarm.org, click on Visit the Farm and then Family Farm Pass.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: email@example.com.
Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.