As part of an ongoing series of upgrades, Drumlin Farm recently got permission to demolish its education building in preparation for erecting a new one.
The new Environmental Learning Center will be the hub for all of Drumlin Faarm’s environmental education programming, including the summer camp. The current education building—which was built as an open screened shelter in the 1960s and later expanded, enclosed, and heated—“is in desperate need of replacement to reflect the volume and quality of programs we offer,”said Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi.
Drumlin employs about 15 year-round educators and conducts about 40,000 educational programs (some off-site). Upcoming programs at the farm include Woolapalooza on March 25 and April vacation week activities for kids.
At 3,700 square feet, the Environmental Learning Center, which is being funded as part of Drumlin’s capital campaign, will be almost three times the size of the existing structure. It will be in the same location but turned 90 degrees, and solar panels will supply all of its energy.
In approving the old education building’s demolition in February, the Historical Commission reviewed the plans for the replacement and deemed it “sympathetic to the site, low, and not intrusive,” according to meeting minutes.
Several years ago, Drumlin replaced its Farm Life Center, where most programs that involve cooking take place. That building was recently awarded LEED Gold certification for green design and energy efficiency. Heating, cooling and lighting are powered by a solar array on the nearby sheep and goat barn, and some of the lumber used in construction was milled from trees harvested at Drumlin.
The farm’s New England Wildlife Explorations exhibit opened in November, replacing the old Drumlin Underground exhibit. As before, the facility houses rabbits, insects and other small wild animals, including the popular fox (who has more space than before), and the entire facility is handicapped-accessible. Additionally, the “green barn” was recently renovated to add two classrooms and a root cellar for storing produce year-round to enable Drumlin to expand its winter CSA.
Drumlin Farm hopes to renovate its wildlife care facility and will also continue to enhance its physical and programmatic resources to give people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds an opportunity to connect meaningfully to nature.