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Posted: 04/03/13


BABIES ABOUND. Seen here are some of the baby animals visitors can pet and learn about at the Wolcott Mill Metroparks Farm Center during the center's "Babies, Babies, Everywhere!" program being held April 2-14. The center is also holding a number of events on April 20 inspired by Earth Day, such as a 5K run, plant exchange and cleanup. Earth Day will be observed on April 22 this year.

(Observer photos by Chris Gray)

Irresistible `babies' and Earth Day events a part of Wolcott Farm in April

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer

      As spring begins to renew life, the Wolcott Mill Farm Center is inviting everyone to enjoy the new lives brought to the center this month.
       Experience all the cuteness during the "Babies, Babies, Everywhere!" event at the Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center from April 2-14. Patrons can also partake in the celebration of Earth Day this month with low-cost events at the farm center.
       For almost 15 years, the farm center has invited people to visit with and pet baby animals at the farm when spring rolls around. Kathleen Clinton, an interpreter at the Farm Center, said the event is the most popular feature the center holds, adding it's hard for people to resist adorable baby animals.
       "Everybody loves baby animals, nobody can resist a baby animal from the youngest to oldest," she said. "They're definitely irresistible."
       Due to popularity, the event grew from being a four-day program into nearly two weeks. The extended time also permits schools to take field trips to the center since it extends beyond spring break.
       Guests will be able to visit with calves, chicks, ducklings, lambs, piglets, kid goats and bunnies during the course of the event.
       She said this is the only time of the year when people can spend some up close and personal attention with animals they may not normally see when at the center.
       "It really is so unlike our domestic pets we have, we have dogs, cats and rabbits and they all bite and they all scratch and they all growl," she said. "A lamb and a goat doesn't do that."
       For instance, when lambs are available, interpreters will allow for children or adults to have the baby animal in their lap.
       "A lot of people take their Easter pictures here with a lamb or a duckling," she said.
       Prior years had groups touring the farm center, but in recent years the center changed the format so people can move to each barn at their leisure. Each barn will have an interpreter or other workers on hand to answer questions.
       "It doesn't matter what we do here, it can be as fun as can be, but believe me when I tell you we will interject education into it somehow," he said. "It's a fun way of learning."
       Patrons are encouraged to bring lunches to eat during the day or take a wagon ride if the weather permits it. Wagon rides run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
       Entry into the farm center itself is free, with payment at the door for the babies event. The babies event is $3 per person, with wagon rides an additional $2 per person.
       Those who want to help tuck in the babies for the evening can do so at 7 p.m. from April 4-6. Like the daytime event, visitors can take photos and pet the animals, but also listen to a bedtime story while sipping hot chocolate. The event is $3 per person with pre-registration required.
       Earth Day events
       The center has scheduled three events to celebrate Earth Day on April 20, with the first being its Earth Cleanup Day from 9 a.m. to noon.
       The free event asks attendees to help clean up the grounds in preparation for the summer, and in exchange the center will provide lunch and a free wagon ride. Guests are asked to bring equipment like rakes, gloves and garden tools.
       The newest addition to the celebration is the Wolcott Earth Day 5K challenge, 10K and Half Marathon Trail Run. Clinton said the paths wind through the whole Metropark as well as the Ray Township Park for a scenic run.
       "We have had so much enthusiasm by runners from all the local high schools and the public that we decided to start having some of our own runs here," she said.
       Fees range from $20 to $45 depending on the event. Pre-registration is required, with forms available at www.metroparks.com.
       Those with green thumbs can also enjoy a free plant exchange with the Master Gardeners from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone wishing to swap plants and tips with other gardeners can benefit from the program. No pre-registration is required for the event.
       For more information, call (586) 752-5932 or visit www.metroparks.com.
      


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