In April of 1973, classroom teachers who were concerned about how "out of touch" their students were with the outdoors founded Learning Tree Farm, Inc. Learning Tree's mission is "to provide hands-on learning experiences in a traditional farm setting." Learning Tree strives to present curriculum based programs in this setting in order to offer a new kind of learning beyond the classroom and its textbooks. It has been serving school children and their families in the Dayton/Miami Valley area, growing from about 200 students in 1973 to over 6,000 in 2006.
At present the staff is composed of a Director of Farm Operations, a Education and Marketing Coordinator, a Finance Director, two Co-Founders, Educational Staff Members, and Farm maintenance staff. Contracted services and volunteers help round out the operations. Visitors come from 9 Ohio counties: Butler, Clark, Greene, Hamilton, Miami, Darke, Montgomery, Preble and Warren.
The need for the services that Learning Tree Farm offers is apparent. According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, between 1950 and 2000, Ohio lost more than 6.9 million acres of farmland, representing nearly one-fourth of Ohio's land. Ohio is second in the nation in the loss of such farmland. Many young people today have little or no experience with farm life, a significant part of Ohio's culture and history.
It is our belief that an appreciation for the past as well as for nature lays the foundation for an appreciation of one's own life, a core influence on future success. Exposure to the natural world, such as Learning Tree Farm offers, can be effective in developing a child's physical and mental health, sense of patience, appreciation for property, and delight in living things. A successful experience in a new environment can improve a child's sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, and achievement. The concept of a child participating in his/her own learning becomes a reality at Learning Tree Farm. We feel that our mission, to facilitate hands-on learning experiences in a traditional farm setting, makes us unique in the Miami Valley.