Our story began in 1984.
With the excitement of moving out in the country came the hope of a larger garden and a do-it-yourself lifestyle. A surprise party planned by a group of friends changed the course of our lives forever. With a freshly painted barn and a few animals, our farm experience began unexpectedly. In just six years children from area schools were on our farm for school field trips, and today our educational farm is a West Michigan attraction to over 100,000 people.
We serve children and youth from all walks of life and engage them in activities on our farm. We celebrate our farming heritage and share stories of days gone by. We teach that agriculture is a gift of nature and give people of all ages the opportunity to witness the wonder of new life. Together we study the impact of the seasons and the role that plants, animals and the environment play in our sustainability.
We serve children and youth with special needs every day through our farm and have always had a heart for children in urban settings, who do not have the means to travel outside of their community.
Through the Critters on Wheels program, children learn to respect farm animals as they witness their beauty, their characteristics and experience their behaviors first-hand. It's difficult to teach using purely books and pictures. Ms. Mary prepared a whole group presentation and hands-on interactive learning stations that were unforgettable."
Christy Wayman, Southwest Community Campus,
Grand Rapids, MI
Though there never was a blueprint for the Critter Barn, the journey has become directed and purposeful. Our family's experience of transitioning from city life to farm life was so enriching, we were compelled to share what we learned with others. Now we are committed to the future of this educational facility and sharing it with everyone.
- Mary Rottschafer, Executive Director, Founder