As the leaves change and the weather cools down, thoughts turn to the holidays and the many traditions with family and friends that this time of year brings. We know that Asbury Woods and its seasonal festivals are part of many families’ traditions and we welcome you back each year. While the core of those traditional festivals remain the same, we are striving to ensure we continue to offer fresh experiences while infusing the festivals with mission related environmental, science, nature and recreational opportunities.
This time of year is also when our longest standing tradition commences, the welcoming of thousands of school-age children to Asbury Woods for hands-on learning experiences. School students from Millcreek Township School District first starting visiting Asbury Woods for field trips in the mid-1960s. Today, that tradition has expanded to encompass visits to Asbury Woods by nearly 13,000 students each year from across Erie County.
As Asbury Woods continues to define our organization as a stand-alone entity, our core traditions and values of environmental education, awareness, sustainability, appreciation of nature and outdoor recreation remain the same. Otto Behrend laid the groundwork for the mission we still follow today when he donated his Asbury Farm to Millcreek Township School District for educational and recreational purposes upon his death in 1957. More than sixty years later, Asbury Woods continues that tradition and the intent of his legacy. As Asbury Woods Partnership, the independent nonprofit which owns and operates the Nature Center, Browns Farm, and associated property, continues to evolve, we promise to remain true to our traditions as an environmental learning and outdoor recreation center while also pursuing how we can share that mission with a broader audience and in new ways.
Thank you for being part of Asbury Woods. I look forward to keeping our closely held traditions alive as we also forge pathways to new traditions at Asbury Woods. I hope to see you in the Woods very soon.
Jennifer A. Farrar, CFRE