Over the past 2 years Learning Tree Farm has been in pursuit of how to be better stewards of our land at the farm. This summer we have been able to complete many of our ongoing projects to accomplish this goal.

We started with land management to restore the health of our soil with rotational grazing practices and new fence layouts. This year we have been able to replant our fields with hay and native grasses and eliminate the row crops that were planted in previous years. Switching to hay fields will lessen the need for tilling and pesticides, allowing healthier soil to develop beneath the ground and the negative effects that pesticides and herbicides have on pollinators.

We have also put in new pocket prairies! A pocket prairie is just a small “pop-up” prairie placed throughout a property. Our Farm Operations Director, Loralynn Kadell and our Assistant Operations Director, Robert Christman, spent the winter months researching local seed providers for native grasses and wildflowers to create small patches of prairies. Our newest patch has been placed at the top of the berm, behind the new equipment barn. As our plants start to grow, visitors will be able to experience the beauty of this area as they walk along the top of the berm on their way towards the woods for a hike. Prairies provide not only nutrients for the soil and sequester carbon, but also provide homes, food, and nectar for our birds and pollinators.

Speaking of pollinators – we have also expanded our family programs to add more pollinator classes. This spring we held a “Wake Up the Bees” event to check on the bees after their winter nap and we made seed balls for families to take home. Our second class will be held in July and we will check on the bees and have a candle-dipping craft. And finally we wrap up the pollinator series in the fall with our honey harvest where families can see how we extract the honey and get to taste some right off the frames. We are continually working to connect our local community to the importance of protecting our pollinators. Coming soon you will also find more interactive signage and pollinator games for our orchard!

Finally, we have gone solar! Over the winter we worked with a local company to install solar panels on the roof of our bank barn. You can see them from the pasture on the back side of the barn. Once we turn the panels on they will be able to provide all the electricity for the farm property to power the lights, barns, and farmhouse and lessen our carbon footprint.

Each person has the ability to make a difference in this world and it starts with the next right choice. Thank you to all those who have helped us to be able to give back to our land, protect our natural resources, and provide for our birds and pollinators.


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