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May 31, 2010

Redgate Farm Education Center Hosts Day of Learning and Fun for "Mainstream Buddies"


Buckland, MA, May 31, 2010—Students from Clarke's Mainstream Buddies program visited the Redgate Farm Education Center on May 26, 2010 for a day of fun and learning. The Mainstream Buddies program pairs eighth graders who are deaf and hard of hearing with hearing students from the Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA. The students took a tour of the farm, went on a scavenger hunt, and ended the day with an "egg drop" from the second story of the farm's barn. Farm director and founder Ben Murray and program coordinator Jennifer Bennett provided a variety of challenging activities for the buddies to do together. The Center has hosted Clarke field trips for nearly ten years.

View the slideshow here.

The Mainstream Buddies program was started in 2008 to foster friendship and understanding between children who are deaf and hard of hearing and their hearing peers. "It's a great way to help students build friendships as they transition into mainstream schools," says organizer Claire Blatchford. Students attend school visits and join their buddies for field trips and social activities throughout the academic year.

Red Gate Farm Educational Center provides programs, volunteer opportunities and outreach activities that help young people and adults experience hands-on learning about agriculture and the natural world. Owned and operated but the non-profit Kistner Foundation, the center is managed by farm director Ben Murray. Murray feels he is fortunate to be able to impact the lives of children every day. "Helping students learn about the farm and themselves, I am privileged to be a part of their life as they discover new experiences and explore new worlds."