Over the past few months, so many new people have discovered us.
I want to take a moment to introduce you to Unity Farm Sanctuary, a "community benefits startup". The mission of Unity Farm Sanctuary is to provide a safe and loving lifelong home for farm animals, to offer the public unique educational programs, and to promote a culture of kindness and connection.
John Halamka and I are the original co-founders, working to create a place of positivity that embodies all the things we have loved about other locations we have visited across the globe.
Unity Farm Sanctuary formally began in December of 2016. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with a board of seven dedicated people making decisions to further the mission of the Sanctuary. As a 501(c)(3) we run entirely on donations and our financial filings are completely public. We are grateful to the thousands of donors who believe in what we are working to achieve and welcome all who want to become a part of this effort.
Many animal species are represented here: goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, pigs, llamas, alpaca, cows, turkeys. chickens, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl (bonus on guinea fowl - they eat ticks). When accepted at the sanctuary, they come to live out the rest of their lives here. Every single day we get calls or emails for additional farm animals that need help, so we network extensively to find them safe homes across the northeast or the broader east coast. Building those network connections across the last 5 years has been very rewarding and successful.
We are especially proud of our partnerships with the community. As the pandemic changes ease, we welcome the Sherborn Recreation Department, Boggestow Garden Club, Sherborn Garden Club, Pilgrim Church Kindness Club, Sustainable Sherborn, and the Sherborn Council on Aging back to the facilities here. Regional Girl and Boy Scout troops are frequent visitors here, and we are pleased to offer community service hours for middle school and high school students across the region.
We have over 450 volunteers on our roster! Each helps in so many ways here at the Sanctuary, but they also take away a sense of satisfaction and peace after they are here. We could not do all of what we do here without our amazing volunteers, and our rescues could not do without the enrichment time they have with the volunteers.
We are grateful to partner with the Sherborn Rural Land Foundation and the Sherborn Forest and Trail Association to develop over 4 miles of walking trails for the public (dawn to dusk, dogs on leash please) across the Sanctuary land and the Land Foundation land, connected. During the pandemic, these were discovered as a local hidden gem, and they remain very popular.
As we look toward the future, plans are solidly in place to have the Sanctuary continue long after John and I are gone. The Board will keep the compassionate vision thriving, and the animals rescued will be assured of a safe haven. Recreational land will be conserved and protected for the broader good, maintaining the trails for future generations.
We offer weekly public tours, including special ones designed for preschoolers. We have created "Art with the Animals" for young and adult attendees, and wish to thank the Sherborn Arts Council for their generous grants to purchase easels and supplies to create this program. New programs began last year for 10-14 year-olds, and middle school and high school students, and we will expand them as our staffing and funding permits.
Please keep connected with us through our website e-news, or on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)! In particular, we really hope you will help celebrate 2021 by coming to a Dudleyfest tour on June 12, for Dudley's Birthday!
(Photo: thank you to Paul Haswell, groundskeeper)