By Pamela Kelley
Imagine a place of green pastures and walking trails that go on for miles. Many locals of Easton, Massachusetts know this place as Sheep Pasture, a 154-acre working farm and conversation area located on Main Street. While if you were not from the area, you’d probably drive right by it, the locals that spend time here enjoy it.
Take a turn down the short dirt road and ahead you have fields that seem to go on forever surrounded by a forest of enormous trees. On a nice day, there will likely be plenty of people walking their dogs and exercising.
Walk down one of the many paths and hear the noise of all different kinds of animals. You’ll end up finding a variety of bird cages, home to chickens, roosters, turkeys, and even ducks splashing around in their home-made bath tub. With food dispensers to feed the animals spread throughout, children scream with excitement as they run up to the cages. Walk a little further down the path and find a long trail which includes bridges over ponds and meadows where one might even be able to see some of the many wildlife the conservation are is home to. To the right are even more animals - goats, miniature ponies, and of course, sheep.
Containing meadows, fields, forest, ponds and streams, Sheep Pasture is an attraction many locals would describe as breath-taking, yet it remains unknown to many. Run by the (NRT), Sheep Pasture is an example of how the NRT provides environmental education through open space preservation.
According to the NRT, this member-supported, non-profit organization has a mission that serves to educate about significant natural and culture resources and to acquire and preserve land of special character for the benefit of the public while providing educational programming as well.
Through events and educational programs, Sheep Pasture offers another way to benefit the public. The NRT offers educational programming here for families, children in school and scouts, along with a Summer Nature Day Camp which also provides a way in which those enrolled may be able to learn about the environment.
“Whenever possible I try to volunteer at Sheep Pasture helping with whatever," said Heather Tufts, a resident. "I am thankful Easton has such a beautiful area everyone is able to share."
Sheep Pasture is also home to At this event, stands are set up everywhere, all seemingly different. One may hold a station of arts and crafts, while the next will have delicious-smelling pumpkin pie along with other foods that are sure to make your mouth water made by local restaurants.
Go down a couple stands and find a place where you can buy a knitted blanket that shows off Easton attractions or a NRT sweatshirt. And for the children, there is a long line for pony rides.
Alicia Gomes, 22, of Easton volunteers at this fair every year like many other Easton residents.
“I always look forward to this day," she said. "It’s a great event that gets a lot of families together. The whole community gets involved.”
“The event is mostly ran by volunteers, and the proceeds benefit Easton’s land preservations. It’s a great opportunity to bring people together to have a good time while benefitting a good cause. My family, like many others, has been involved for years,” said Gomes.
But besides the harvest fair, Sheep Pasture also provides a farmer’s market each week selling fresh, local produce. Here you’ll find everything from red apples to corn to yellow squash and zucchini.
“It’s the only one in town,” states Gomes, “So it’s popular with all the locals. My family usually makes an effort to stop by each week as many others do.”
Through the funding of the NRT, Sheep Pasture is able to provide Easton with a place locals can spend time outdoors and host events in which people can either learn about their environment or contribute to it through proceeds and the locals seem to appreciate this greatly.
“It brings the community together. Whether it be because of the harvest fair, farmer’s market or just walking the trails, Sheep Pasture is a favorite place of many. It seems if the people from Easton who make use of the area are very thankful for it.”