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Auerfarm offers After-School Enrichment Camp per request of local parents

Bloomfield, CT (September 16, 2020) – 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm, also known as Auerfarm will offer after-school Enrichment Camp programming for school-age children in grades K-8 starting September 14 for six consecutive weeks.

The Auerfarm Enrichment Camp was designed upon the request of local parents seeking more social-emotional opportunities for their children during after school hours. The Enrichment Camp will allow children to spend time on the farm expanding their knowledge and understanding of nature, science, agriculture, and the arts doing STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) hands-on activities with trained Auerfarm educators. Outdoor learning in a small group setting provides a safe and interactive way to engage learners with varied interests.

The Enrichment Camp is a 6-week program for 2 days a week, 2 hours a day (24 total hours), Monday & Wednesday 3:30 – 5:30 pm or Tuesday & Thursday 3:30-5:30 pm. To ensure age-appropriate curriculum and COVID- safety, there will be up to 12 per group, and age breakouts will depend on the number of children enrolled. The Enrichment Camp will also offer Sprouts, a program for younger children ages 3-5 on Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 am-11:30 am.

During the year, Auerfarm continued to heed the state’s COVID-19 and the American Camping Association guidelines and restrictions by offering social distancing, reduced group sizes, masks, and other hygienic protocol for their overall operations, which included the first year of Auer Camp; 5-weeks of day-camp in July and August for ages 3-15, which registration attendance hit maximum capacity.

Jonni Marshall, Camp & Education Coordinator, developed the summer day-camp programming and was impressed with the high levels of participation, but also the overall socio-emotional effects the camp programming provided for the campers and their parents.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been such a difficult time socially and emotionally for everyone this year, ” said Marshall. “The impact of the day-camp experience really resonated with our community – the opportunity for kids to be with kids safely was priceless. There was great interest from the parents to somehow continue a similar experience on the heels of Auer Camp for an after-school experience, and we happily obliged to meet the needs of everyone in a safe environment.”

The central mission of the Auerbach farm was set down by the Auerbach family in 1976, to create a real hands-on farm learning experience for students. Students learn that the farmer is a scientist and that agriculture science affects everyday life. Lessons in biology, biotechnology, horticulture, and math address content standards and expected performances in science. The lessons follow the Connecticut Department of Education’s “core science curriculum framework” for students pre-K through high school.

Programs are all based on the inquiry learning method, encourage critical thinking and curiosity, while providing concrete hands-on discovery experiences essential to motivate and inspire scientific literacy.

Erica Fearn, Executive Director, has been managing day to day operations at Auerfarm along with the Board of Trustees members. Fearn stated, “As we know, this year has been unprecedented on many levels and to face these changes, one must adjust and take stock in the emotional factors we are all experiencing this year. We understand that our community needs supplemental socio-emotional experiences for their children and themselves. We listened and got to work immediately. We have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our campers, visitors, and staff as it has to come first.”

“We also have other exciting opportunities for virtual educational field trips and programming and additional hands-on experiences during the upcoming months. Our programs give adults and children a socially distant way to stay in touch with nature, their family, and their community,” Fearn said.

For camp registration and Auerfarm information, visit www.auerfarm.org and our Facebook and Instagram pages.

4-H Education Center at Auerfarm, located in the southwest section of Bloomfield on 120-acres in Connecticut was deeded to the non-profit Connecticut 4-H Development Fund, Inc. in 1976. Known as the 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm, the farm is committed to engaging all ages in learning about farming, science, and the environment.

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