Montezuma Land Conservancy members and supporters ushered in a new education center at the organization’s own Fozzie’s Farm during an open house Thursday afternoon.
Fozzie’s Farm is a farm education center on 83 acres of land in Lewis. Owned by the conservancy, the farm is dedicated to connecting young people to the outdoors through hands-on, agricultural learning programs.
Previously, all the farm’s programming was conducted in tents. The new building will help expand the nonprofit’s offerings, said Jay Loschert, the outreach and education coordinator for the conservancy.
“We want to share this place with the community,” Loschert said.
The farm was donated to the Montezuma Land Conservancy in 2016. Educational programs began on the farm the next year, and since then, programs brought in more than 700 youth and 200 adults, according to the organization’s website.
Part of the conservancy’s mission is to reconnect kids with the outdoors and agriculture, Loschert said.
“Kids today are more connected to electronic devices,” he said.
The farm serves as a physical space where school groups can pass through and learn about “regenerative agriculture” through hands-on experiences, Loschert said. They might help with a conservation project, move gated pipe or install irrigation. The land provides a “tool for kids to engage,” he said.
Construction of the new education center wrapped up about a month ago, although some of the paneling must be finished. An area downstairs can hold about 60 to 65 people, and Loschert, who also serves as the farm manager, will live upstairs.
Now that the building is up, organizers are planning on putting in some observation beehives that will allow students to glimpse inside a hive, he said, along with some pollinator gardens.