“What an amazing facility and program!”
Once a year, the Center hosts a magnificent gathering of family activities centered on exploring nature, creating sustainable agriculture, and having a blast doing it. The activities and experience made for a very busy day.
The Center itself is a non-profit educational organic farm and nature preserve on 236 acres. While the Harvest Fair is an annual event, the Center has plenty of activities, classes and events the entire year to keep you coming back. Visitors to the center can explore 4 miles of nature trails, visit livestock, tour the gardens and greenhouses, and explore the creek, pond, prairie, and swamps of the State Nature Preserve. Check out the website for more specifics (http://www.stratfordecologicalcenter.org/).
Saturday was a gorgeous day weather-wise, so we had the perfect opportunity to explore the Center. We were greeted by live music covering some Johnny Cash, which set the right tone immediately. We took a minute to get our bearings, because the place was jumping! After deciding to sample as much as we could, we were draw immediately into the Center’s calming and positive atmosphere.
My family had a blast! We took advantage of the hayride to see some of the further parts of the farm, checked out the pear trees and strawberries in the Children’s Garden, sat on Mocha the donkey and learned about pressing apples. Nothing beats seeing your husband chase and attempt to feed chickens! Kids could also safely climb on several tractors on the farm, and this alone delighted my son to no end!
The areas geared toward different age groups was a great touch. Toddlers had their own area to play with age-appropriate toys and older kids had a great time climbing on the giant hay bales and playing with a parachute and kites. They really did think of everything!
I spoke with several of the volunteers helping with the event, and they were forthcoming about not only the mission of the Center, but also on the importance of community education and participation. From the woman taking admissions, to the gentleman shooing the yellow jackets out of my son’s just-made apple cider, like most non-profits, the people involved at Stratford have serious passion for their work.
I plan on taking full advantage of this amazing facility. Upcoming events can be found here (http://www.stratfordecologicalcenter.org/programs_events/public_programs.html) and include standouts such as Family Chore Time at the Farm, Myths & Misconceptions about Honey Bees, and an awesome opportunity called Farm to Fork. This class will teach you the skills and recipes to use local seasonal ingredients. I have been very interested in the slow food (http://www.slowfoodusa.org/) and locavore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locavore) movements gathering steam across Central Ohio, and Stratford is at the heart of education and participation in the sustainable agriculture of Delaware. As a resource and as a fun place to be, they are truly top notch!
Have you been to Stratford in the past? What keeps you going back?