When people think of a fun place to walk, cycle, or explore, they often head to Kensington Metropark – 4,481 sprawling acres of wooded, rolling land surrounding beautiful Lake Kent.
Families often stop at the Kensington Metropark Agricultural Center to get up close with chickens, sheep, cattle, pigs, workhorses and learn about the important role of farms then and now. fe spine spoke with Farm Supervisor Patrick Bigelow about life on the farm, the special events that take place throughout the year and the tremendous daily efforts of his team to make the farm a very special place for visitors.
How? ‘Or’ What long have you work like the Supervisor To the Kensington Cultivate Center? Tell me a little In regards to your context and What LED you To this role with the Metroparks.
I have been the supervisor of the Kensington Farm Center for five years. Teaching people where their food comes from and how it gets to their tables has been a long-standing interest to me. I grew up on a small beef cattle farm in northern Michigan and was the kid who told other kids about cows and farming on the bus. After high school, I attended Michigan State University where I obtained my BA and PhD. My doctoral and post-doctoral research has focused on increasing agricultural sustainability. Every step of the way, I took the opportunity to raise awareness about farming, so the position at Kensington Farm Center was a natural fit.
Your job like Supervisor of the Kensington Cultivate Center is To oversee Daily operations of the cultivate, like good like manage educative programming. What is a typical daytime As for you? How? ‘Or’ What numerous employees job with you To the Cultivate Center? Make you use volunteers like good?
One of the things I love the most about Farm Center is that there isn’t a typical day; a field trip for young children on their first visit to the farm one day and delivery of piglets the next day. The Agricultural Center has two other full-time employees and approximately eight part-time employees. The Agricultural Center has individual volunteers, a group of long-term volunteers from Chief Pontiac’s programs, and groups of corporate volunteers who help with larger projects like building fences and removing invasive species.
What to do you Fisd reward In regards to the job? Hard?
I love the amazed and amazed look when children who have never seen a cow or sheep, except on a screen, can interact with one of them for the first time. Helping children make lasting memories, whether it’s on a school trip or a visit with their family, is certainly the best reward. Like many others, the biggest challenge is time management. Finding sufficient time to balance the demands of a working farm with dozens of animals, from chickens to work horses, while fulfilling our educational mission to increase agricultural awareness among our visiting customers .
Tell me In regards to the animals visitors can see To the Cultivate Center. How? ‘Or’ What to do you food them? East the a program disabledwandered for children To to learn What it’s As To care for cultivate animals?
The Kensington Farm Center offers a full line of domestic farm animals including rabbits, ducks, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle and work horses. Every farm worker is involved in the care of our animals. Every morning we all participate to feed the animals and clean the pens and barns, then again in the afternoon for the evening meal. We have many programs at the Farm Center where kids can hands-on learn about animal care from our multi-day summer camp programs to our 1-hour Chow Time on the farm programs. We also offer a wide range of school programs which can be personalized according to the age of the students and the orientation desired by the teacher.
East the a favorite attraction Where animal To the Cultivate Center?
Our year-round horse-drawn cart rides are very popular and allow visiting families to meet our draft horses up close. The walk through our wooded trails around the farm and along the Huron River. This is especially popular in the fall when the leaves are changing.
Tell me a little In regards to programs future up To the Cultivate Center this Publication date. What are some popular programs / Activities? East the anything New this season, Where lesser known amusing things To to do?
The Agricultural Center is preparing for a busy fall. We’ll be starting pumpkin sales soon with cart rides through our pumpkin patch for visitors to choose their perfect pumpkin to carve into a pumpkin. Each year we grow a wide variety of pumpkins and decorative gourds in our four acre pumpkin patch. If you are going out with toddlers, don’t miss our Kid’s Cottage, a thatched roof cottage built with all natural materials and the nearby grass maze. The tall grass at the waist makes it perfect for young explorers. If you want to create your own special event, many people don’t realize that we offer room rentals, bonfire rentals, and private cart rides.
Ee Cultivate Center too characteristics a 150-year-old restored barn this was recognized in 2012 like Michigan barn Preservation of the network barn of the Year. Can you tell me a little In regards to his the story?
The wood frame barn we use as a horse barn was originally built in 1856 as a threshing barn by the Crawford family of Milford on their farm near the modern intersection of General Motors and Hickory Ridge. The farm where the barn was located was purchased by the Jackson family in 1908 and passed to the Bourns family in 1947. As development expanded around the farm, the Bourns family donated the barn. at Kensington Metropark in 2001. A professional carpenter and barn restorer dismantled the barn and numbered each room. His move to the agricultural center became a community event as a team of volunteers helped the carpenter rebuild the barn in his new home. The Metroparks are committed to keeping the barn strong for the future and it just received a new cedar shingle roof this summer. Visitors can stop at the barn around 11am every weekend and see our draft horses being harnessed for work and around 4pm unhitching.
East the anything other you would have As visitors To know In regards to the Kensington Cultivate Center?
Every fall and early winter we get questions and calls from customers wondering where farm animals go in the winter. The answer is they stay here! The agricultural center is open year round and I always recommend visitors to try to go out in different seasons as the appearance and behavior of the animals change with the seasons, as does our educational program. From pumpkins in October, to Santa’s visit in December, to historic ice-harvesting programs in January, and to the maple grove in March, every visit to the Farm Center is a chance to see and learn something new.