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Friday, May 26 Local

Baby animals make debut at Stamford nature center’s farm festival

STAMFORD — Llamas, chickens and goats - oh my. And oxen too.

Those are among the 80 animals participating this weekend in the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s annual Spring on the Farm festival, which also seeks to give visitors a history lesson about small New England farms of a century ago.

“The big draws,” Victoria Jaffery, manager of the center’s 10-acre Heckscher Farm said, “are all the baby animals.”

Staff members walk the animals around the festival so children and adults can meet and get to know them.

One of the objectives is to show visitors how farming was done back in the day.

“People are getting back into farming so it’s become more popular,” she said, “but I think a lot of times, especially if we live in the city, we forget where our food comes from and the work that goes into preparing it. We definitely like to throw back to the past and show how important it is — although we may do things differently nowadays.”

More Information

Spring on the Farm

Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center

39 Scofieldtown Road

Admission for members $5; nonmembers $10

On Saturday, all armed forces personnel admitted free.

For information, visit stamfordmuseum.org or call 203-322-1646

To bring that point home, she said, a team of Randall oxen - a rare breed of cattle with only about 200 in existence in the U.S. - will pull logs and carts to show how they were used to move items around a farm.

The sheep, llamas and alpacas will get their spring furcuts in another demonstration, and the farm’s extensive inventory of tools will be on display and shown how they work.

While the kids get up close and personal with the animals, adults can view “Art on the Meadow,” an exhibition co-hosted by the Loft Artists Association. About 30 works of art using various media will be on display.

Kirsten Reinhardt, curator of collections and exhibitions, said, “What we wanted to do was bring an additional adult-level element to the festival so that parents who are bringing their kids to see the baby animals … also have an opportunity to experience art and look at art and even purchase art on an adult level so that the festival is balanced.”

The Yama Ki Bonsai Society will present an exhibition of the ancient art with about 25 trees on display. “If they were an island, I’d want to live there,” Reinhardt said of the specialness of the trees. “They are fabulous works of art.”

Lisa Monachelli, the director of education, said the festival allows the nature center to highlight its general mission.

“A big part of what we teach is where our food comes from and trying to reconnect kids and adults to the agricultural roots that we had years ago.”

But the furry residents of the farm undoubtedly provide the most inspiration, Monachelli said.

“It’s hard not to see a baby goat and be completely excited about the world.”

Pat Hines is a freelance writer; patricia8236@att.net

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