Month: June 2024

30 Jun 2024

Deep Roots, Bright Future: A New Chapter in Greenacres’ Legacy

Deep Roots, Bright Future

A New Chapter in Greenacres' Legacy

In his final weeks as President of Greenacres Foundation, Carter Randolph shared his thoughts with our team about the enduring success of Greenacres and how we will continue to be an indispensable asset for our communities in the years ahead. Reflecting on his time as President and looking forward to his role as Chairman of the Board, Carter discussed the core values that have driven Greenacres for over 36 years and his hopes for the future. Here are Carter’s thoughts:

Greenacres has remained true to the Mission and Vision of Louis and Louise Nippert. Thanks to their generosity, what began as a dream in 1974 became a reality in 1988. Today, we welcome over 30,000 community learners annually for hands-on educational experiences, provide $1 million annually for research in agriculture, environment, education, and arts, host private events, offer adult education, and run the Exploring with Grace after-school programs.

Staying true to the values of our founders is the bedrock of our success. Our decisions are guided by their values of Grace, Good Neighbor Policy, Generative, Green, Giving, and Quality, Quality, Quality. These principles shape our efforts and help us provide meaningful experiences in agriculture, the environment, and the arts. Our commitment to these values has shaped our culture, keeping us aligned with the Nipperts’ original Mission. By adhering to these principles, we honor the legacy of the Nipperts and continue to build a better future for our community.

The Five G’s

The Five G’s embody the values of our founders, the Nipperts. They lived by them and we hope others see and follow their example.


The Nipperts left three significant gifts to the community when they established Greenacres. The first gift was the Mission, inspired by their vision. In 1974, Mr. Nippert envisioned a working farm using pre-1945 agricultural techniques aligned with nature, where children could learn about the importance of nature and biology in food production. Mrs. Nippert added that while agriculture nourishes the body, the arts are essential for the mind, creating a complete human being. This vision shaped the Mission:

  • Greenacres will always reflect the style and grace of Louis and Louise Nippert who operated Greenacres as a mid-twentieth century gentleman’s farm from 1948 to 2012.
  • To preserve for the public an area reflecting the traditional environment of Indian Hill and its historical significance by preserving Greenacres in its current state of woodland and farmland.
  • To preserve the integrity of all land owned and purchased by Greenacres Foundation in order to encourage conservation and appreciation of nature by providing the public, particularly children, opportunities to study plant and animal life in their natural settings.
  • To encourage appreciation of music and culture by providing facilities and an atmosphere that will encourage artists to display their talents for all age groups.

The second Gift was their land, the original farm known as Greenacres.

The third gift was the endowment. The Mission and Land require care and effort to support and implement, so to offset this and make Greenacres a true gift with no need to ask the community for support, the Nipperts provided a significant endowment. This has fueled our ability to offer school programs for free, with no strings attached, even covering transportation costs when needed. Greenacres is a true gift to the community, and we expect our employees and visitors to recognize this gift and pay it forward in their own ways.


Louis Nippert did not start life as a champion of nature but became one over time. He enjoyed hunting, and during a trip near the Canadian border, he spent a day shooting game with a guide. At the end of the day, the guide asked him, “How do you want these prepared?” As he looked at the canoe full of game, he realized he had killed for no good reason. He didn’t want it prepared or taken home. He had hunted for pleasure, and the price paid was too high. He told the guide to keep the game for himself and never hunted again. This realization that all life matters changed his life.

Louis became a park commissioner to help grow the park system and supported the Nature Conservancy to build the Edge of Appalachia into a large, protected area. He changed his approach to cattle, moving from traditional grass-to-grain feeding to finishing on grass, promoting pasture growth. His gardening techniques also changed to what we now think of as “organic” or “regenerative,” which he termed “pre-1945 methods”. He recognized that we are part of the web of life and that how we treat the earth impacts us all. This understanding led him to become an advocate for environmental sustainability, becoming truly “GREEN.”

At Greenacres, we are committed to protecting the earth we’ve borrowed from our grandchildren by acting locally and thinking globally. Our farming methods sequester carbon in pastures, and the water running through Greenacres improves as it flows. We strive to minimize negative impacts on the earth and offset them with positive actions. Green is a core consideration in all decisions and actions at Greenacres. We believe we should leave the earth better than we found it, repaying our debt to future generations with interest.


Greenacres is a generative place, which means we build up everything we touch. We enhance the minds of children through hands-on lessons designed to help teachers impart difficult concepts. We enrich the soil through our grazing and rotation methods and improve our garden soil using Ley Farming. We maintain our woods by controlling invasive species, allowing native species to thrive—a continuous challenge as new invasives arrive. Our systems are designed to influence runoff, ensuring that water entering the aquifer or stream is clean. We invest in our employees and apprentices by sending them to conferences and learning opportunities, helping them make decisions based on best practices and sound science. We advance global knowledge by funding university research and conducting our own research at Greenacres.

We know that everything we generate must hold truth and must be rooted in fact. This is why we spend the time conducting thorough research.

I always thought truth was a given in daily life, based on facts, analysis, and sound science. Over time, I learned that truth is not that simple. Today, what is true often depends on your point of view. At Greenacres, we strive to ensure our positions are based on facts developed through sound science. To support this, we conduct and fund research with the goal of getting articles published in peer-reviewed journals. The peer-review process is crucial because it ensures an independent review of the research design and methodology, confirming adherence to scientific standards.

It’s important to remember that science advances through dissent. For example, it took 1,200 years from the first suggestion that the world is not flat until it was widely accepted. Truth must be based on sound science, which must allow and promote dissent that challenges current beliefs.

Consider the belief that cows cause global warming due to methane emissions. A thorough scientific evaluation shows a different story. When cows manage grass pastures through rotational grazing, they help sequester carbon in the soil, making them net reducers of greenhouse gases. At Greenacres, our pastures sequester over 55 metric tons of carbon annually at a depth of 30 cm, thanks to grazing cattle. The truth is more complex than just methane emissions from cows; it requires examining the total ecosystem impact. While this sound science might not be popular, it is supported by facts.

We are committed to ensuring that our understanding of the truth is always grounded in sound science and open to challenge and refinement. Greenacres is generative because we want to build a better future for everyone and for the earth.


The GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY (G.N.P.) means anticipating needs and offering help before being asked. The Nipperts embodied this principle in many ways and passed it on to others. I learned about what it meant to be a good neighbor during a particular snowstorm.

As we finished clearing driveways and preparing for the day, Mr. Nippert asked me to check on a recently widowed neighbor living alone. I drove over in my Jeep and found her driveway blocked by a large fallen tree. Climbing over it, I knocked on her front door. She looked out the window, didn’t recognize me in my winter gear, and called the Rangers. With the Rangers on the phone, she asked, ‘Who is it? What do you want? The Rangers are on the way!’ I removed my stocking cap, introduced myself, and said, ‘Mr. Nippert sent me over to check on you.’ She recognized me and told the Rangers, ‘Never mind – it’s just Carter.’

I informed her about the tree and said we would clear her drive. When I asked if she needed anything, she replied, ‘Yes, I need to go to the pharmacy and refill my medication.’ So, I went to the pharmacy, got her refill, and after completing other chores, we returned to clear the tree so she could get out and others could get in. She often laughed about the situation, saying, ‘There I was, stuck behind a tree in a snowstorm. And who comes to clear the tree and fill my prescription but a PhD in Finance – who else gets that kind of service?’ Her smile and chuckle always followed the story.

We hope our visitors and the communities we serve will also pay the G.N.P. forward.


Grace is last on the list but might be the most important value at Greenacres. Grace is not about what we do, but how we do it. It is the way all other values are implemented. Mr. and Mrs. Nippert taught Grace in many ways, from how a visitor was treated in their home to how they treated the community.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Congress temporarily lifted the cap on charitable gift deductions to encourage donations for those impacted. As the year progressed, many local charities found their funding campaigns falling short because their donors had given to Katrina relief efforts. After some discussion, Mrs. Nippert decided to fill the gap. Greenacres reviewed various Cincinnati charities, and those facing financial challenges received anonymous gifts to tide them over. These one-time gifts provided a lifeline, enabling many charities to survive and continue serving their communities without cutting back on services. Few know this story because all the gifts were made anonymously. The Nipperts believed in giving for the sake of giving, not for recognition. They often said, “If you want credit, pay for an ad; it’s cheaper and you’ll get the credit, but you won’t feel the warmth in your heart from giving just to give.”

At Greenacres, we want all our visitors to act with Grace and treat others as they wish to be treated.


QUALITY stands for “QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY.” Its roots come from a TV commercial from a few years ago. Ford was running ads that ended with “QUALITY is JOB ONE.” Mrs. Nippert looked at us and laughed, saying, “Here, QUALITY is the ONLY JOB. If we cannot do it with quality, do not do it. QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY.” The point was clear, and the bar was raised for everything we do at Greenacres. We all strive to do our best and ensure that everything meets the highest standards of quality.

Remain Focused

Greenacres will always remain focused on implementing the Mission developed by Louis and Louise Nippert. It would be easy to stray from their mission, and many have requested that Greenacres do that. However, it is our duty to put our desires and wishes aside and implement their Mission as best we can, following the Values they gave us. Focus allows us to achieve QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY and live the Gs. It keeps us aligned in providing children with authentic experiences in generative agriculture, the environment, and the arts.

Thank You

On behalf of the Greenacres team, we offer our sincere thanks and gratitude for everything Carter Randolph has done to build, grow, and lead the foundation over the last 36 years. We wish him well in his retirement from President and are excited about our future under his leadership as Chairman of the Board.

13 Jun 2024

Around Greenacres – Spring 2024

Around Greenacres - Spring 2024

Closing out the School Year

We had a fantastic spring educational season, providing programs for over 15,000 community learners since January at all of our locations. We offered lessons that ranged from Arts in the Natural World to Weather & Climate through our Arts, Agriculture, and Environment programming. Each of these programs is aligned with state standards. With the help of classroom teachers, the lessons are customized to provide authentic, real-world learning opportunities for students that bring their learning standards to life. This season we were able to provide programming for students across a multitude of learning disciplines, including the Arts, Generative Agriculture, and Environment!

Looking ahead, we are excited to announce that coming this Fall, we will offer programs in our Equine Education department! As we develop and pilot this new programming, we will focus on bringing Math standards to life for 8th graders! If you know any math teachers who would be interested in having their students learn geometry, Pythagorean’s theorem through equestrian demonstrations, care, and management. Please contact Greenacres Education Operations at or 513-898-3262.

Spring Equine Programming

Springtime in the Equine department is a busy but exciting time for staff, students, and horses! Our 50 lesson students, including our Pony Club members, returned from the winter eager to develop their skills. Along with the spring flowers blossoming, our students blossomed in their respective levels and riding abilities. Our students showed focus and dedication in their riding and have progressed beautifully in their skills throughout the spring. Members of our Pony Club team competed at the Spring Bay horse trial and had a very successful first outing for the season!

Along with teaching our riding lesson students, we held nine Exploring With Grace groups broken down into a three-part series. Each group came for three consecutive weeks where they learned about horse care and handling with the final week involving a bareback ride through an obstacle course. As excited for spring as students and staff are, the horses were even more thrilled to have the emergence of green across the fields as this meant the return to pasture grazing. The horses spend the winter in our all-weather dry lot and as spring grass returns, they begin the acclimation back on pastures. Once acclimated to grass, the utilization of rotational grazing begins. Rotating our horses within the pastures using electric temporary fencing to create smaller sections ensures an even graze and ample time to rest and regrow.  

Monitoring Stream Health

This spring the Research Team started its first round of stream monitoring. Monitoring streams on the property is another way to check Greenacres’ ecological impact on the land and surrounding ecosystems. The data collected are stream macro-invertebrates and a few chemical and physical parameters. Macro-invertebrates were sampled using a method called kick netting. They then were collected, sorted, and identified down to order. After identifying what is present in the streams, a score can be generated based on what orders were found. Both North Branch Sycamore Creek and Raiders Run scored “excellent”. This indicates that both streams are healthy and have little pollution problems. The Research Team will continue to monitor the streams in Indian Hill and will soon be replicating this on Greenacres’ satellite properties.

“Sampling macro-invertebrates is a great way to assess stream health because they are indicator species for water pollution levels.”

Chad Gibson, Senior Research Assistant

Spring and Summer Preparations

The Buildings and Grounds crew spent their spring preparing for the event season, as well as summer camps. They prepped the hiking trails around the property to ensure they are safe and enjoyable for summer camp activities. They also continuously maintained the Ley Field to keep it pristine and inviting for programs and events. This included transforming old split rail fence materials into mulch for use in the gardens. Preparations at the Arts Center included opening the fountains and moat. In addition to these large projects, the estate crew inspected and repaired the fence lines in our pastures to make sure the grazing season was ready to go into full swing all around the property! We are grateful for the team’s dedication to keeping Greenacres beautiful and safe for students, campers, guests, and staff.

Perennials at Michaela Farm

Each year at Greenacres Michaela Farm, there is an anticipation for the return of seasonal perennial crops which are plant species that are cultivated and live longer than two years without the need to be replanted each year. Perennial crops include fruit, nuts, herbs, and vegetables. Michaela Farm grows asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, pawpaws, pears, lavender, oregano, spearmint, chives, sage, thyme, lemon balm, and rosemary.

Perennial crops offer several benefits to soil health. Their deep roots enhance soil structure and porosity as the slow decomposition of roots and leaves adds organic matter to the soil. They improve the soil’s water-holding capacity and provide continuous cover, which protects against erosion. And since they don’t need to be replanted every year, they minimize soil disturbance and support thriving soil organisms.

Once established, these crops typically require less maintenance, making them both time-saving and cost-effective for gardeners. As the plants mature, harvests usually increase each year. Most perennial crops, however, have a short harvest window, requiring timely picking to maximize yield.

Ley Field Hedgerow

The heavy rains we received this Spring did not stop the Indian Hill garden team from accomplishing their goal of planting nearly 300 plants in an enormous hedgerow. With the help of various departments, the fencing that originally separated the Ley Field into two sections was removed and replaced with this incredible hedgerow, filled with native plants. The team meticulously selected species to attract pollinators, birds, and many other critters to the area. Not only is this native planting creating habitat and food for these insects and animals, but it’s also adding a beautiful educational space to the field! This new hedgerow has also created an exciting project for our research team, meticulously monitoring the pollinator activity in the area.

Garden Team planting hedgerow in Ley Field

Included in the new hedgerow are:

  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
  • Red Chokecherry (Aronia arbutifolia)
  • Witch Alder (Fothergilla gardenii)
  • Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
  • Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
  • Blue Hyssop (Agastache x foeniculum)
  • Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohioensis)
  • Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
  • Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
  • Little Bluestem (Schizachryium scoparium)
  • Yellow Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata)
  • Yellow Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
  • Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillate)
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Purple Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)

Nature's Classroom: Ley Field Garden Picnic

In late May, our Garden, Livestock, Research, and Events teams collaborated to create an enchanting evening at our Nature’s Classroom: Spring Ley Field Garden Picnic. This memorable evening brought families together with hands-on activities in the Greenacres Ley Field. Guests of all ages learned about pre-industrial ley farming, a sustainable agricultural practice that combines diverse plant species and animals to nurture soil health and foster ecological balance.

The garden team created you-pick stations throughout the ley field, where guests harvested fennel, peas, radishes, turnips, and their own flower bouquets! The research team set up a pollinator observation station and engaged participants with discussions about the vital role of pollinators in our ecosystem. The livestock team answered guests’ questions regarding animal production, with sheep and lamb nearby for observation. It was a wonderful way to kick off the outdoor season and we look forward to more events this summer and fall.

03 Jun 2024

Engaging and Empowering Staff

Engaging and Empowering Staff

Greenacres Foundation's Innovative Approach

Ever wonder how to meaningfully engage and empower staff at all levels of your organization? How to leverage your staff’s passion and their deep understanding of the operational facts to lead to innovative solutions and advance your mission? At Greenacres Foundation, we are driven by our values to achieve the mission left by our founders. One of our core values is being generative, which not only applies to our agricultural practices but also to generating new ideas, enhancing the way we work, and fulfilling our mission. People are our greatest asset, and without a team of dreamers, believers, and doers, Greenacres could not make the impact we have on our community. Several years ago, we started actively seeking the voices of all our employees, using new and innovative methods that have been beyond fruitful in making Greenacres the place to be.

1. A Process to Propose Ideas

The people at Greenacres have the greatest ideas. However, there was no process for those ideas to be shared and reach the leadership team. Several years ago, we implemented the Idea Submission Process. Any employee, in any role and at any level, can fill out a form with a description of their idea, how the idea relates to the mission, limitations/constraints, and metrics to determine the success of the idea. This form is then submitted to the leadership team. Bi-weekly, the leadership team reviews these submissions, discusses them, and either approves or provides feedback.

From employee-submitted ideas, we’ve developed a world-class agriculture apprentice program, offered a Totality Solar Eclipse Viewing Party for employees, built new community partnerships, created wellness rooms accessible for all staff and visitors, enhanced our benefits to offer Paid Family Medical Leave, and tried electric-smart lawnmowers to cut down (pun intended) on interruptions of our daytime programs by loud gas-powered mowers! Our employees know they have a direct path to offer ideas to the leadership team, and our leadership team knows we get the best ideas from all our people.

There have been instances where we have actively sought specific idea submissions as well. In 2022, we were looking at various barns on the property and determining their best use. We reached out to all staff and asked them to provide idea submissions for how we could utilize the barns – the only constraint was the idea had to tie into our mission. We received a dozen or so ideas from people across all departments. The winning idea was not something anyone on the leadership team had ever considered. We are transforming our founders’ barn into a world-class agricultural education facility where learners of all ages can experience a true farm-to-table program. A long-time member of our team stated, “This is the most excited I’ve ever been about a project at Greenacres.” We can’t wait to see you at the grand opening of the Nippert Barn in late 2024 or early 2025 to celebrate bringing this big idea to life!

2. Survey Your Staff

The leadership team actively seeks feedback from all staff on how they view the leadership team, how the leadership team is supporting them, and how the leadership team can improve. Questions included:

  • What is the purpose of Lead Team?
  • What is Lead Team doing well?
  • What can Lead Team improve on?
  • Do current Lead Team communication strategies keep you informed on what’s happening?
  • Is there anything you’d like to see from Lead Team over the next 12 months?


The answers to these questions informed the leadership team about areas of weakness, strengths, and helped form action items for the coming year to best serve and support our team.

3. Share your SWOT Process

Historically, we have conducted an annual or bi-annual SWOT analysis with our leadership team to review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats perceived across the organization. New this year, every single employee will be included in our SWOT. Yes, you read that correctly. We are going to set up a SWOT in one of our buildings for three days. Employees will be able to stop by and add strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats as their schedules allow. The leadership team will then take their feedback, review it, and put together action items.

Providing clear and simple opportunities to solicit employee ideas and feedback has made our foundation stronger. Every team member knows they have a voice, and we have done amazing things we may never have thought of in our leadership team echo chamber.