February 28, 2022

The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation: Welcome to the Model Farm

The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation, located in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, is a more than 2,000-acre property with beautiful nature trails, lakes and streams, a model farm and a planetarium.  All summer long, Sharpe provides opportunities for New York City children and families to explore nature and have fun in the outdoors. During the school year, school and community groups participate in our year-round environmental educational programs. 

The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe team, with the help from many partners and generous supporters, creatively work together to ensure that all our visitors from students to families to Fresh Air campers have memorable experiences. From the Model Farm to the planetarium, the opportunities for discovery are endless! 

Meeting the Animals 

An all-time favorite camp activity is visiting the Camp Model Farm which spans over three acres and is home to many animal friends and is where campers are taught how to properly feed and tend to each animal.   

During the summer, most of the barn animals come from other local farms and educational centers including the Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center.  

For this upcoming summer, some of the farm’s future residents are expected to be Bugs the rabbit, Lightening the sheep, Winnie the miniature donkey and a cow named Jasmine and her calf, Venus! 

“I can tell you there are a lot of kids who are apprehensive about going to the farm. They think it will be boring or scary, but nine times out of ten kids come back from the farm excited to talk about their experience, share what they learned and tell their friends and families all about it,” Sharpe Reservation Program Coordinator, Nicki Bogie said.  

Exploring the Garden  

Filled with beautiful vegetables and plants, the farm’s garden is magical during the summer! The Fund’s Nutrition Center gives campers lessons on how to harvest vegetables, tend to plants and prepare their own farm-to-table recipes. The Nutrition Center at Sharpe also provides our campers with healthy and flavorful recipes that children and families can try during any season.  

Fresh Air counselors help campers explore their surroundings and teach them about how the garden was originally designed to reflect the old traditions of indigenous gardeners. Students also learn about the medicine wheel where plants grown were used in place of the modern-day pharmacy.  

Fun Fact: The garden is also home to the Marshmallow plant whose roots produce a candy like sap – a treat which spans back to the pharaohs in Ancient Egypt! 

Our Sharpe team is dedicated to helping each Fresh Air camper expand their knowledge on plant care and on how to stay healthy through nutritious eating habits.  

“As Environmental educators, it is important to nurture the ‘seeds’ we plant in young minds with real-time interactions with the land around them, in hope for greater understanding of the importance of protecting our environment,” shares our Sharpe team. 

The farm is an opportunity for campers and counselors to connect, have fun and learn more about nature! 

Family Wellness Experience  

The Fresh Air Family Wellness program offers NYC families an overnight camping experience to explore nature and participate in outdoor activities together such as swimming, hiking, archery and even a visit to the farm! The program is an opportunity for families to bond through a camping experience.  

For most families, the Camp Model Farm is a big part of their Family Wellness experience. Fresh Air parent Waleska Morales shares that the farm was her favorite memory from her visit and was interested to see the various plants being grown at the garden.  

The Morales family visits the garden at the Sharpe Reservation Model Farm.

“Everything the camp had to offer was an amazing experience,” Waleska shares. “It was a change in scenery that was really needed for my family and I during the pandemic.” She shares that Sharpe was an opportunity for her family to explore nature and distance her children from electronics. 

A sweet family memory! Families learned about bees and the process of creating honeycombs – the best part is trying it!

Fresh Air summers are filled with excitement, new experiences and exploring the outdoors. For many NYC children, a visit to the Sharpe farm is a unique camping experience and teaches skills that can last a lifetime! 

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