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Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Field Trip Of The Year

After church today, we decided to go to Munnell Run Farm Day in Mercer, PA. A little about Munnel Run Farm from their webpage:

The Mission:
At Munnell Run Farm we strive to integrate agriculture and ecology education through hands-on programs for students and adults in watershed management, nonpoint source pollution control, stream ecology, wetlands, forestry and agriculture.
Our vision for Munnell Run Farm is to nurture a conservation ethic in our youth, agriculture producers, and community members in order to affect a positive cultural, economic and environmental impact in our rural community. It is further our vision that Munnell Run Farm shall become a destination for school children, educators, civic organizations, agriculture producers, and families to explore and discover the interrelationship between agriculture, the natural and cultural environments and our economy.

The Farm:

Munnell Run Farm contains163 acres of cropland, woodland, pasture and riparian forested wetland owned by the County of Mercer and managed by the Munnell Run Farm Foundation, Inc., which holds a long term lease and a conservation easement on the Farm. The Mercer County Conservation District provides valuable support for the Farm's mission.  It is located 1 mile north of Mercer, PA on State Route 58 West. Visitors to MRF have an opportunity to explore the interactions of agriculture and ecology in a real-world setting. Featuring outdoor, hands-on activities designed to meet PA Chapter 4 Academic Standards, Munnell Run Farm Foundation, Inc. received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in Education and Outreach in 2003. MRF depends on grants and donations for its educational programs, maintenance, and infrastructure improvements. 

 Some cheerful round bale piggies greeted us as we arrived.

We started by checking out some of the vendors. First up was a visit with an alpaca where you could purchase various items made from alpaca yarn. They were gorgeous and so soft but I can't justify spending $75 for a hat or $32 on a stuffed animal. It was fun to pet Thomas the alpaca though.
Micah wasn't sure what to do with the alpaca at first.

Next, we chatted with some folks representing the local 4H and spent a little time with the animals they brought with them.
A sweet bunny that Micah gave a kiss.

A less than thrilled duck.

A friendly goat.

Laural & Micah both tried the peddle tractor pull. Neither got very far. Laural's legs seemed too long for the tractor & Micah's were too short.

They played on a stack of hay bales

They both got their faces painted. Princess Laural & Pirate Micah. I'm really surprised that Micah went along with it. He has been freaked out by it in the past and has only allowed his hand to be painted.

The Civil War reenactors marched across the large yard area at the top of every hour to fire their guns to mark the time.

We took a ride on a horse drawn wagon which was pretty neat. Laural got to sit up with the drivers on the return trip.

There were loads of cows to be see throughout the farm, including two calves who were hanging out with their moms.

 We also took a ride on a tractor drawn wagon that took us to the back part of the farm where we saw lots more cows, fields & farm equipment in use.

The mom & her baby weren't sure what I was up to. They kept a watchful eye on me. 

We also went into a small trout nursery and looked at the brown trout & golden rainbow trout babies what were being raised there. Outside, both kids got to try their hand at casting a fishing rod & reeling it back in. The both did pretty well with it. I guess they'll be ready to catch their dinner when we go camping next year.

A band called Mandolin Whiskey - kind of bluegrass-ish mixed with some more modern country - played most of the time we were there. There were lots of different types of vendors selling homemade wares, a quilt show, a spinning wheel demo, an archery station where you try to shoot a bow, an ox roast, crafts for kids ( Laural made a farm necklace) and probably more stuff that I just didn't see. It was a wonderful day of fun & learning all for the price of a donated canned good for the Mercer County Community Food Warehouse. I look forward to going back next year!

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