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[caption width="250" caption=" Rendering of Aullwood's proposed Farm Discovery Center by Architect John Fabelo of LWC Incorporated. "][/caption]

Butler Twp. - The Friends of Aullwood will host a ground breaking for the new Farm Discovery Center at Aullwood Audubon Farm, 9101 Frederick Pike on Friday, March 11 at 1 p.m.

The ground breaking will kick-off the second phase of Aullwood’s $7 million campaign. Having raised more than $5 million towards the goal, the Friends of Aullwood Board unanimously approved constructing the Farm Discovery Center this spring.

“We believe it is important to support community businesses – LWC Incorporated and Brumbaugh Construction as well of numerous local contractors to stimulate the economic growth of our region,” said Cindy Garner, board president. “We will dedicate the Farm Discovery Center in 2012 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Aullwood Farm - one of the first educational farms in the USA!”

“Phase I of this project began in 2004,” said Charity Krueger, Aullwood’s executive director. “Twelve buildings have been transformed. The environmentally friendly improvements include electrical upgrades, new standing seam metal roofs, cement siding, energy efficient windows, new septic systems and insulation. Many of the buildings and pathways are now ADA compliant and accessible to all visitors. New interior and exterior fencing has been installed and a compost facility constructed. Much needed farm equipment has been purchased and a new sugar house constructed. Our farm educational programs expanded, teaching thousands of youngsters on-site and off-site about where their food originates. Our 4-H club is filled to capacity each year. Aullwood’s livestock has been upgraded, and now features Angus cattle, a new team of draft horses, mini horses, new donkeys and Suffolk and Dorset sheep.”

The new building will be a place for hands-on learning as well as a gathering place for the community. The center will have a large entry and multi-purpose room, a roomy kitchen, two classrooms, offices and a maintenance shop. One classroom will contain a laboratory for students to study water, soil or plant science. A large greenhouse-growing window will enable students to nurture plants while studying plant communities at the farm - sugarbush, croplands, pastures or fencerows. This classroom will provide hands-on experiences in traditional farm activities as candle dipping, weaving and spinning to name a few. Children will gather crops from the organic garden as they study nutrition - creating a meal from fresh vegetables, eggs and meat in our new kitchen.

The second classroom will house a year-round Nature/Farm Play Preschool for economically disadvantaged youngsters as well as families who can provide tuition for their children to participate in these special experiences. The preschool will be operated by Head Start though the Miami Valley Childhood Development Center. This will be the first farm-based Head Start Preschool in the country and it will open in August, 2012. This program will address the problem of nature-deficit disorder – or the costs of alienation from nature including diminished use of senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illness.

The Friends of Aullwood Board is proud to be fulfilling the vision of our founder, Marie S. Aull who said - “All of us are dreamers and I know that Aullwood will always teach children a love of nature and farming.”

Architect of the new building is John Fabelo of LWC Incorporated. The firm was established in 1927 and is the oldest architectural and engineering firm in the Dayton area. The company is a certified Minority Business Enterprise and until last year was known as Lorenz Williams. John is a partner of the firm who serves as the firm’s director of design. In addition to the Farm Discovery Center, he was the designer for the award-winning Marie Aull Education Center. Fabelo also designed the Girl Scouts Urban Camp, the first LEED certified public building in the region.

Brumbaugh Construction of Arcanum, Ohio submitted the winning bid for the project. Ralph Brumbaugh founded the company in 1962 on the cornerstones of creative minds, high standards, and strong work ethics plus a unique ability to identify and solve people’s needs. These have helped the business develop into a people-focused company with a history of excellent working relationships with numerous owners, architects and engineers. The Brumbaugh tradition continues today as one of the leading contractors in our area with both the public and private sectors.

The community is encouraged to support this project with a donation to the Farm Initiative. For more information call Aullwood at 890-7360 extension 16 or visit the Aullwood Web site at http://aullwood.center.audubon.org

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