From Our Editors
The sounds of bleating sheep and braying donkeys, occasionally interspersed with the children’s laughter, waft across the fields of the 100-year-old, 250-acre working farm. At Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Farm and Education Center, staffers and 4-H educators help children in preschool through grade 12 participate in outdoor education and recreation, including opportunities to get up close to the resident animals.
Teachers introduce ecological concepts such as the best way to hug a tree in the outdoor Nature Explore Classroom, where 50-foot-tall arborvitaes and flowering cherry trees border open spaces for free play that includes a raised herb garden, a 138-year-old hay barn, and a climbing area. In warm weather, instructors also helm the Green Youth Initiative, which teaches students how to grow leaves from their fingertips and what their impact on the environment means. At different times throughout the year, staffers shift their focus to seasonal celebrations, with special events such as corn mazes and the Pumpkin Fling—a pumpkin catapult contest.