Up until this point, Heritage Farm has been a destination for lovers of history and Appalachian culture. The farm has always offered a variety of ways to experience the past, appreciate the present, and dream for the future. Part of our dream for the future is to add programming, installations, and facilities that will allow people to explore the natural history of Appalachia and engage in its conservation.
Our new “Wild Heritage” nature and wildlife education series, launched summer 2018, began our growth in this direction. Visitors have had the opportunity to engage in activities such as making their own bird feeders, going on nature hikes, learning about the butterfly life cycle, building bat boxes, and planting flowers for pollinators.
This is all only the beginning. The current footprint of the historical village is only 50 acres out of the total 750 acres that are owned by the Heritage Farm Foundation. Almost all of this land is forested and has amazing potential for unparalleled nature programming that is not available anywhere else in the tri-state area. Our ever-expanding village now has a BRAND NEW Nature Center with live animals native to Appalachia for guests to see and learn about, and a BRAND NEW treetop trek of canopy bridges to survey the skies of the forest and the wildlife that calls our hills their home.
Our mission, with the addition of our BRAND NEW Nature Center, themed “An Appalachian Backyard Experience”, will be to open peoples’ eyes to the fascinating fauna and flora we have in Appalachia, and inspire them to conserve what we have for generations to come, realizing the impact they have on living things around them every day. This facility is a unique “living classroom” experience where visitors are able to learn about the wildlife of Appalachia while actually being surrounded by live animals native to the area.
We believe that environmental education should first be about getting people to care about the local wildlife and their habitats through personal encounters, and then informing them of how they are impacting those things with their actions every day. A great change occurs in the life of someone when they realize that they can make a difference for something that they care about. This is what the Appalachian Backyard Experience will be all about: connecting people with the wildlife that shares their own awesome Appalachian backyard, with the greater purpose of cultivating within their minds a passion for their protection.
We have designed this facility to be a unique “living classroom” experience where visitors are able to learn about the wildlife of Appalachia while actually being surrounded by live animals native to the area. We believe that conservation education shouldfirst be about getting people to care about the local wildlife and their habitats through personal encounters, and then informing them of how they are impacting those things with their actions every day.
According to Wildlife Director, Rebekah Perry Franks, "The Nature Center theme is "An Appalachian Backyard Experience". When you walk into the building, you feel a sense of home...but not just your home, it is also home for the amazing wildlife of Appalachia. We can't wait to share these cool critters with the public and get people excited about what lives just outside their own doors.
Experience an adventure in the trees at the all new Treehouse Trek located right behind our new Nature Center.
The NEW treehouse trek takes visitors to new heights via a 750 foot series of canopy bridges that send you 60 feet high into the forest. Visitors will be eye level with squirrels traversing from tree to tree, and birds gathering seeds and insects for food, and other fascinating animal behaviors that you normally would miss if you were passively wandering at ground level. Offshoots of the bridges will allow participants to exercise like the native wildlife in unique ways utilizing ropes and planks to challenge guests to balance like a chipmunk, climb like a raccoon, jump like a squirrel, perch like a bird and hang like an opossum.
At the pinnacle of this trek will be a 24’ X 32’ treehouse with amazing views of the Appalachian woodlands and its wildlife. The space can also function as a classroom, a presentation station, and more. For those who do not wish to climb 60 feet into the sky, there will still be a mile and a half ground-level footpath trail system to walk and enjoy nature’s wonders.
See a llama, a piglet, and the bunnies while learning how our furry friends contributed to everyday farm life. Check back often as the Critter Corner family is always evolving!
All of our animals are outside in open-air enclosures along the new Heritage Trail.
Please check our Yearly Calendar for petting zoo dates or contact our office (304) 522-1244 for more information.