Charity A. Krueger Farm Discovery Center
The Farm Discovery Center is the educational facility for our agricultural and nature programs. There are interactive farm exhibits in the lobby and a learning classroom where special classes are held such as our annual candle dipping workshops. The Liz Wyse auditorium is available to rent for weddings, parties, and business functions
. The Miami Valley Child Development Center (MVCDC) Head Start preschool is also located in this building.
The large yard behind the Farm Discovery Center is used for Apple Fest
, Enchanted Forest
, and Farm Babies Fest
. School groups and visitors can picnic there on sunny days, and kids can climb on the vintage tractor and play in the sand pit.
Aullwood’s barn is built in the German heritage style of the 1800’s. The foundation is constructed of limestone and small glacial boulders gathered from fields. (If you look closely, you may see fossils in the limestone blocks.) The beams were hand hewn from local hardwoods and are attached by wooden pegs. The longest beam is from a tulip tree and is as long as a 6-story building. A grassy slope leads to the upper level where hay, grains, and straw are stored. The lower level houses a variety of livestock including some rare and endangered breeds.
Sheep Barn and Pastures
This building provides a small sheltered pen and adjacent pasture access. This barn is used in the spring during lambing season (March-May). Ewes and their newborn lambs are penned together for the first few days after birth to allow the farmers to keep a close watch on their health and development. In late spring and early summer, the lambs and their mothers are put out to pasture behind the barn. You’ll find large Kentucky coffee trees in the adjacent pasture.
Spring House and Duck Pond
A spring house was common on many farms in the past. Cool spring waters helped keep milk, cheese, eggs, and other perishables fresh. Look for long-tailed salamanders and crayfish in the water. An adjacent windmill pumps water from the spring to a small stream and wet meadow. Wildflowers and wetland animals find a home here. In 2004, the duck pond was enlarged to provide new educational opportunities. Standing on the observation deck you can see native wetland plants and animals. Ducks, herons, raccoons, deer, foxes, and coyotes are frequent visitors to the area.
The triangular pen houses a pair of heritage turkeys. These birds are genetically closer to their wild ancestors than to common farm turkeys. The tom (male) can be frequently seen defending the hen (female) and his territory through his impressive feather display.
Follow the access road between the turkey pen and the ‘coffee tree’ pasture, and you’ll come to the Greenview Garden Club’s Herb Garden. This garden has been tended for more than three decades, and is home to native and non-native herbs. Be sure to watch the sundial’s shadow change.
Children’s Sustainable Garden
The compact garden features a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. Here you can learn about raised bed gardening, composting, mulching and crop rotation. The wide variety of colorful and fragrant plants make this a fun introduction to gardening.
This building is home to several breeds of layer chickens. Some of Aullwood’s programs feature egg collecting, which is exciting because of the wide array of colorful eggs that can be gathered. Farm fresh eggs are almost always available for purchase in the farm store.
This house is where chicks are raised during the summer. They arrive from the hatchery when they are one day old and stay for a few weeks inside the protected brood house until they are old enough to go outside. Heat lamps provide the chicks with warmth when they are newly hatched.
The three pastures behind the brood house provide forage for our herd of cattle. A variety of plant species offer a seasonal buffet for these herbivores. Oftentimes you will see a Red-tailed Hawk perched along the edge of the field hunting.
Follow the path between the cow pasture and entrance drive to reach the bee yard. The flowers in the pastures and along the woods provide food for thousands of bees and butterflies. Al Tuttle, of Eagle Ridge Apiaries, manages the hives. Aullwood’s honey can be purchased at the farm and in the nature center store.
This 15-acre woodland features sugar maples and other native hardwoods like beech and cherry. It is a busy place in February and March during maple syrup production. Staff and volunteers tap the trees and harvest the sap, which is boiled down into syrup in the sugar house. Weekend programs give a taste of this Northeastern American native food source. On a walk through the sugar bush, you may spot owls, pileated woodpeckers, wildflowers, and a host of mammal species.
Our farm has adopted a practice in its crop fields called “ECO” farming which stands for e
ternal no till, c
ontinuous living cover crops, and o
ther best practices. This type of farming is intended to improve soil health, maintain good bacteria growth, and keep the soil temperatures down. This sustainable practice also includes manure management and integrated pest management.
Birdwatching at the Farm
The many fields and hedgerows at the farm provide habitat for resident and migrant grassland bird species such as Eastern Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Horned Lark, Killdeer, and Red-winged Blackbirds. During the day, you can also see Red-tailed Hawks hunting and at dusk, if you are lucky, you will see our resident Great Horned Owl.