Category: Learn

20 Mar 2023

Prescribed Fire at Greenacres

Prescribed Fire at Greenacres

Fire as a Land Management Tool

As stewards to the land gifted to us by the Nippert family, Greenacres strives to utilize the best land management practices available. Fire has always been a part of the natural world, and returning prescribed fire to our landscape is an integral part of conserving nature, for the benefit of both wildlife and humans alike. Various plant communities found on our properties are dependent on fire to create a healthy, resilient, and biodiverse ecosystem. From the wildflowers of spring and summer, to the oak trees feeding its acorns to the animals of the forest, to grasslands hosting quail – all are dependent of periodic fire to keep the ecosystem in balance.

Students out on an early fall adventure.

Conducting a Prescribed Burn

As a land management tool, prescribed fire requires careful planning and thorough training to ensure the safety of persons and property. Greenacres staff members who plan and lead prescribed fires are certified through the Ohio Division of Forestry and have years of experience. Staff trainings are held to ensure all those who are working these fires are knowledgeable and competent in their roles. Permits are issued through the Ohio Division of Forestry, the Ohio EPA, and local fire departments, holding Greenacres to the utmost standards while conducting prescribed fires.

Greenacres conducted two prescribed burns in Indian Hill in 2022 – for more information on those fires, please click here

If you have questions, or would like more information, please email Chris Glassmeyer at

13 Sep 2022
school bus in front of arts center

Learning Together – Fall 2022

school bus in front of arts center

Learning Together – Fall 2022

Welcome Back!

We have enjoyed welcoming you and your students back to Greenacres for another adventure-filled year! It has been great seeing old and new friends participate in programming throughout the fall. We are excited to begin publishing “Learning Together”, a newsletter focused on education programs at Greenacres. Two-to-three times a year, we will highlight new opportunities for visiting schools, introduce our educators and highlight any important changes to our education programming. We hope this gives you another way to interact and stay up-to-date with Greenacres. We look forward to continue serving you and your students.

If you haven’t browsed our available programming lately, we encourage you to check it out. You can find a full list at

Students out on an early fall adventure.
Students out on an early fall adventure.

Meet Scott Wingate, Director of Education

Introducing our new Director of Education, Scott Wingate. Scott has been involved with Cincinnati non-profits and their education initiatives for most of his career. He spent time at the Cincinnati Zoo before becoming the Executive Director of the Newport Aquarium’s WAVE Foundation. He is excited to join our team and looks forward to continuing to grow Greenacres education programs. 

“I am excited to start the role of Director of Education at Greenacres as it combines my passion for conservation, nature and affinity for educating our community!  I look forward to collaborating with our community leaders to develop innovative education programs that are engaging, impactful and ensure students are meeting the requirements of their schools while developing a sense of wonder for our natural world!”

Scott Wingate, Greenacres Director of Education

Have you visited the Arts Center?

When you visit the Greenacres Arts Center for a field trip, your experience will be enhanced by learning from a group of teaching artists, who are active participants in the arts world. Each member of the Arts Education team is excited about the work they do, the communities in which they are involved, and are eager to share their love for music, visual arts, and theater experiences with visiting classes throughout the year. 

A great field trip destination year round

The Arts Center offers access to art galleries, art studios, and performance spaces while maintaining its historical integrity. In addition to the facility itself, the grounds present curated gardens, water features, and courtyards, which are regularly used in programming. Just steps away is working farmland, an inspiring greenhouse, and extensive woodlands with trails and creek access. The diverse facilities provide truly unique, hands-on learning experiences.

Arts programming occurs both indoors and outdoors, allowing versatile settings to explore each season. For example, the seasonal changes brought by autumn inspires students’ creativity through new sound and color palettes. Music, visual arts, and theater opportunities are explored equally in nature and in the Arts Center. Greenacres arts programming provides different avenues for students to connect with the arts in a new environment.

Arts Programming from a Unique Perspective

Arts programming draws inspiration from our founders, Louis and Louise Nippert. Louis Nippert was a farmer and outdoorsman, while Louise Nippert was a performer and supporter of the arts. Their collective interests have created a convergence between the natural sciences and the arts at Greenacres which gives our programs a unique feel not found anywhere else.

Our Arts Education team values and upholds Greenacres’s mission “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”. Their diverse skill sets allow for customizable learning experiences in one or more of the following disciplines: theater, music, visual arts, and art gallery experiences. This program model encourages lifelong participation in and appreciation of the arts. In all of our programs, we value:

  • Experiential learning that places a strong focus on the creative process over the final product.
  • Opportunities to use artist quality materials and materials made from the natural world. 
  • Honoring the creativity and individuality of each learner.
  • The importance of both collaboration and self expression.
  • Using the assets around us to ground programming in the history of the arts.
Students enjoy a beautiful Spring day at the Arts Center.

We recognize schools’ interests to integrate state and national standards from a variety of subjects, including science, math, social studies, and language arts. Problem solving, experimentation, and critical thinking drive our arts-centric learning. Examples include:

  • Arts in the Natural World Program Series: This brand new series explores the intersections between art and the environment. Different subjects will be offered to different grade levels to ensure fresh content every visit. For example, one visit might take you on a hike to the creek to process natural clay into an artistic medium, while the next visit may include learning how to make paints made from plants or composing musical soundscapes by listening to the sounds of nature.
  • Patterns and Energy: Students use critical thinking skills, develop hypotheses, and experiment with patterns and energy through drumming, painting, drawing, and movement activities.
  • Cincinnati’s Stories: This program is grounded in the Queen City’s rich history and connection to the arts and culture. Whether it is examining the Arts Center’s collection of Rookwood pottery, listening to music created in Cincinnati, or diving into our city’s heritage, this program is not one to miss!

    What can Visiting Students Expect?

    We want your visit to the Arts Center to be fun, engaging, and enriching! Throughout your visit, you will uncover the various phases of the Arts Center’s history. The Arts Center was originally built as a Norman style residence in the 1920s and was restored and transformed into the Arts Center. By visiting the Arts Center, you contribute to this chapter of our history–told through the perspective of the visual, performing, and musical arts. During programming, you can expect:

    • Hands-on learning and active opportunities to experiment with new artistic concepts.
    • A chance to explore architecture, gardens, farmland, and woodlands.
    • To engage with artworks throughout the building, including contemporary works of art, art created by local artists, and historical works of art such as Rookwood pottery.

    We hope to see you and your students for arts programming soon! To book a field trip at the Arts Center or any of our field trip destinations, please visit: 

    Administrative Meeting Spaces Available

    Is your faculty looking for offsite meeting space? Greenacres can host your school’s administrative meetings at no cost to your organization. Whether you are planning a professional development seminar, conducting leadership training, or have planned a strategic planning meeting, Greenacres is happy to welcome you and your team to our property. Our facilities offer large meeting spaces equipped with the latest technology. Your attendees will feel inspired after being treated to stunning views and learning how Greenacres can help with their educational objectives. If you are interested in this for your faculty, please reach out to

    21 Jun 2022
    tall grass with wooden and wire fencing

    Why We Mow Less

    tall green grass with wire fence and trees in background

    Why We Mow Less

    Tall Grass is Good Stewardship

    Around Greenacres, you may notice some of our grasses are not mowed frequently, and can grow quite tall.  While freshly cut lawns can look nice, mowing isn’t beneficial for the environment. Gas-powered mowers put emissions into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution. Mowers also cut down native wildflowers, reducing the nectar available to pollinators. Mowers are also heavy machines that compact the soil. By mowing less, we practice good stewardship by supporting our ecosystems and native plants.

    Rather than over-using fuel-powered mowers, we can also let our cattle, sheep, and horses graze and maintain our landscaping naturally. Greenacres livestock manager, Leevi Stump, informs us, “It is an extensive process managing all of the sections of property we graze. The livestock are our ‘mowers’ and their impact is great as their hooves return any decaying material to the Earth where insects and soil microbes can utilize it. Grass’ main purpose is to reproduce, and as it matures and seeds out, it loses its nutritional value. Grazing encourages regrowth and root development and lengthens the time the plant is in a vegetative state, allowing the grasses to capture as much solar energy as possible leading to improved soil and animal health.”.

    tall grass with wooden and wire fencing

    “It is an extensive process managing all of the sections of property we graze. The livestock are our ‘mowers’ and their impact is great as their hooves return any decaying material to the Earth where insects and soil microbes can utilize it. Grass’ main purpose is to reproduce, and as it matures and seeds out, it loses its nutritional value. Grazing encourages regrowth and root development and lengthens the time the plant is in a vegetative state, allowing the grasses to capture as much solar energy as possible leading to improved soil and animal health.”

    Leevi Stump, Livestock Manager

    Our local pollinator and bird populations benefit when we mow less, by preserving their food sources and habitats. These animals and insects are essential components of our ecosystems and in our garden production. Native birds and some native insects use organic materials like grasses to build their homes. So, the less we mow, the better it is for our pollinator and bird communities.

    Mowing can also have a harsh effect on the ground below. Heavy machinery continually compacts the soil, making it difficult for healthy root growth. When we allow the land to rest by mowing less often, roots are able to grow deeper into the soil. With longer and stronger roots, water can penetrate deeper into the root zone, making the plants less susceptible to heat stress and more drought resistant. 

    You can mow less, too!

    Even if you don’t have livestock on your property, you can mow less often and still see environmental benefits! Try setting aside a portion of what you typically mow, and let it grow tall, mowing about once a year. Take note of any new flora or fauna you observe throughout the seasons! You can even sow seeds of native plants to increase the biodiversity of your plot. You’ll spend less time mowing, while also lowering your carbon footprint.

    If you have any questions about our land management practices, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    01 Apr 2022

    Smoke on the Horizon

    Smoke on the Horizon

    Not Always a Sign of Trouble

    Greenacres, The Village of Indian Hill and Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District recently teamed up to do a series of prescribed burns around the Village in an effort to promote new growth, reduce invasive plants and clear old plant debris. The locations selected for these burns were Grand Valley Preserve, Radio Range Park and a green area near the intersection of Shawnee Run Road and State Route 126. All three locations had been planted with native grasses or wildflowers, but the establishment rate had not been successful.

    Village officials had noticed less and less species diversity over the last few years and were looking for a solution when they reached out to Greenacres for assistance. After reviewing the data, the Greenacres team prescribed a series of burns. They felt this was the most natural approach and helped avoid the use of powerful herbicides or heavy tilling.

    “The Village was thrilled to learn that the Greenacres Team was certified in prescribed burns and interested in partnering with the Village to improve the native grasses and wildflowers. The Village is fortunate to have the Greenacres Foundation located within our community and the partnership that has been created to improve the natural environment.”  said.

    -Jon West, Village of Indian Hill Assistant City Manager

    “These native plant communities evolved in the presence of natural fires” says Daniel Wilds, Greenacres Interim General Manager of Greenacres Michaela Farm. “By utilizing burns, we can help manage land in a way that promotes growth and maintains a rich balance of native species. Not only do we remove dead material, creating space and light for new growth, we’re also building natural fertilizer by breaking down biomass so that it can be reabsorbed into the soil. It’s a very powerful management practice for farmers and land managers and can benefit an entire ecosystem when implemented properly. We can greatly improve soil health, plant and animal communities, and even weather patterns.” continued Wilds.

    “By utilizing burns, we can help manage land in a way that promotes growth and maintains a rich balance of native species.

    -Daniel Wilds, Interim General Manager of Greenacres Michaela Farm

    After carefully planning the procedure and waiting for the necessary weather conditions, Wilds, who has a national certification to conduct these type of burns, and other members of Greenacres, put the plan into motion under the careful supervision of the firefighters from the Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District. Three separate burns were conducted over the course of three days.

    “The prescribed burns were carefully planned, coordinated with the right personnel and executed without incident. This was a new experience for our personnel and we enjoyed working with our partners from Greenacres.

    -Chief Stephen Oughterson, Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District

    All three burns went according to plan and Greenacres and the Village will be monitoring the sites over the coming years to gauge their effectiveness on the intended outcome. The hope is this old school method finds new life as organizations look for alternatives to the harsher land management practices employed in years past.