Spring 2022 Update
The Benefits of Multi-Species Grazing (Sheep and Cattle)
This past April, agricultural team members, Michael Cox and Leevi Stump, traveled to Iowa and purchased 50 new ewes. Over the coming months, the new sheep will be integrated with our cattle herd. We are extremely excited about this multi-species grazing approach. Grazing different species together allows for better pasture utilization and can even help decrease undesired plant populations.
Sheep and cows are selective grazers, but each in a different manner. Sheep enjoy woody shrubs and bushes, while the cattle prefer the lush grass which makes for complete, even grazing of our pastures. When the animals graze together, it also helps deter large predators, like coyotes, from attacking the more vulnerable sheep. Our Agriculture Director, Michael Cox, also tells us that, “the combination of two different species in one pasture can help balance the parasite burden for the animals”. And, since the two animals have different harvest times, this means we will have a steady meat supply in the farm store!
“The combination of two different species in one pasture can help balance the parasite burden for the animals.”
-Michael Cox, Agriculture Director
In addition to hosting a handful of school field trips and clean-up events, Greenacres’ Michaela Farm is having an active gardening season this spring! We are currently working on a plan that would expand the farm’s production to meet educational needs at this location and better serve our customers. This is an ongoing project that will be coming together over the next few months. If you are in Oldenburg, Indiana and find yourself at Michaela Farm, make sure to stop by the farm store! We currently have fresh produce, eggs, and a wide selection of vegetable, flower, and herb start transplants for your home gardens.
Fresh Finds at the Farm Store
Just in time for our annual Mother’s Day weekend plant sale, our Garden Crew helped to beautify the Greenacres storefront by planting wildlife-attracting landscaping. The team hopes to add additional native and seasonal landscaping throughout the Greenacres properties. Our farm store continues to be filled with beautiful flower bouquets and arrangements, which are available throughout the year. Lilies, ranunculus, anemone and bachelor’s buttons mixed with other seasonal beauties are currently available until the summertime zinnias and sunflowers come along. Our produce selection continues to expand with the warmer weather – we have a large variety of fresh herbs, beets are back, and our customers have been enjoying the asparagus provided by Michaela Farm. As we ramp up for the summer season, keep an eye on our email newsletter and the website to know when your favorite summer veggies come into the Farm Store!
Come See Our Newest Classroom at Lewis Township!
Construction is officially complete for our education facility in Lewis Township! As part of our efforts to be green, we made sure to equip this building with an abundance of green features. A geothermal energy system was installed for heating and cooling. Since the geothermal system only requires electricity to run the heat pump and blower motor, it uses significantly less power and produces fewer carbon emissions than a conventional system (e.g. gas, oil, electric).
The facility also contains automated solar tubes (or sun tunnels) designed to bring external light into the building. Our Buildings and Grounds Director, Alex Saurber tells us, “by using the sun’s natural light, we are able to reduce the amount of electricity needed to illuminate the building.” He also adds that, “the amount of light that is let in can be adjusted to accommodate for various activities throughout the day.” We are thrilled this new classroom is up and running, and look forward to hosting more field trips and events at this location soon!
“By using the sun’s natural light, we are able to reduce the amount of electricity needed to illuminate the building. The amount of light that is let in can be adjusted to accommodate for various activities throughout the day.”
-Alex Saurber, Buildings and Grounds Director
Greenacres Events Coming Soon
Our events team is looking forward to a full calendar of weddings this year but these ceremonies and receptions are not the only events on the radar! On Friday July 8, 2022, we will be hosting the annual Music Under the Stars. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Poptet will be putting on a groovy performance of 70’s favorites at the Arts Center, in the beautiful gardens.
The following week, on Saturday July 16, 2022 Greenacres is organizing a fundraiser, An Evening of Hope for Ukraine. This event supports humanitarian aid efforts benefitting the people of Ukraine. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Matthew 25: Ministries and will be used exclusively for humanitarian efforts benefitting the people of Ukraine.
Events Director, Kyle Conlon reminds us, “These events sell out quickly! Make sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our email newsletter to be the first to know when tickets go on sale.”
“These events sell out quickly! Make sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our email newsletter to be the first to know when tickets go on sale.”
-Kyle Conlon, Events Director
Music in the Meadow
On Thursday August 4, 2022, we will be celebrating the official opening of Greenacres Lewis Township with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. John Morris Russell will lead the Pops in the 90-minute concert performing “A Night at the Movies”. The set list will feature music from some of your favorite films. This event is open to the public and a great opportunity to learn about Greenacres and our plans for the property. This is a free event, but we ask that all guests RSVP for planning purposes.
Watching Life Grow at Greenacres
Spring is the season of new life and growth and what better place than Greenacres to witness this? Our education department has enjoyed having school field trips organized throughout the Greenacres properties while students return to in-person field trips. Our administrative coordinator, Katie Brown, tells us, “All around the farm, students can learn about and observe first-hand the various phases of animal and plant life cycles. Greenacres is a perfect place to see all the new animal babies in the spring!” From an abundance of tadpoles in our ponds, to the young calves in our pasture, and all of the macroinvertebrates in between, there is so much growing life to observe at Greenacres!
If you are an educator interested in field trips, please contact our Education Coordinator Katie Brown. Our Education Team creates exceptional field trip experiences for each and every visitor we serve. We collaborate with classroom educators to build customized, hands-on interactive experiences aligned with grade-level academic learning standards. You can use our field trip programming tool to browse popular topics by grade and by academic subject.
“All around the farm, students can learn about and observe first-hand the various phases of animal and plant life cycles. Greenacres is a perfect place to see all the new animal babies in the spring!”
-Katie Brown, Administrative Coordinator
Spring Equine Lessons
Our Equine department’s 13-week Spring Session is coming to close and we are looking forward to the 2022 Equine Summer Camps! We welcomed 21 new riders off of the waitlist and had a total of 65 students enrolled in the lesson program this Spring. The Greenacres Pony Club Riding Center members have been busy attending horse shows this Spring. All of the horse and rider pairs competing this Spring have finished within the top 8 in their divisions. Our Equine Manager, Becca North tells us, “we still have an active waitlist, so if you are interested in enrolling in the lesson program we invite you to join the waitlist through the equine page on the Greenacres website.”
“We still have an active waitlist, so if you are interested in enrolling in the lesson program we invite you to join the waitlist through the equine page on the Greenacres website.”
-Becca North, Equine Manager
What does Healthy Soil Look Like?
Every Spring, our Research department spends several weeks monitoring our pastures and woodlands. This helps ensure that all of our ecosystems are healthy and functioning correctly. This Spring, the team completed some essential assessments, including vegetation surveys, litter surveys, soil sampling, and faunal sampling. When conducting faunal sampling, our researchers look for animal life using pitfall traps and “herp circles”.
The pitfall traps are used to survey arthropod communities (small macroinvertebrates such as springtails, millipedes and spiders) while the “herp circles” (15-meter diameter circles) help us look for reptiles and amphibians. The arthropod community’s composition gives us insight into litter decomposition, nutrient cycling, and overall ecosystem functioning. Research Assistant Chad Gibson tells us, “Searching for reptiles, and especially amphibians can help interpret ecosystem health due to their extreme sensitivity to pollutants and disturbance.” With continued monitoring, we can notice changes in faunal populations and make more informed decisions when it comes to our land management.
“Searching for reptiles, and especially amphibians can help interpret ecosystem health due to their extreme sensitivity to pollutants and disturbance.”
-Chad Gibson, Research Assistant