Lambs cozying up in the barn at COA Peggy Rockefeller Farms. Events like lambing workshops, work-study opportunities, and food systems courses make the farms an essential part of the COA educational experience.Lambs cozying up in the barn at COA Peggy Rockefeller Farms. Events like lambing workshops, work-study opportunities, and food systems courses make the farms an essential part of the COA educational experience. Credit: Yoi Ashida ’20

Lambing season is “the most intense time of the year” on Peggy Rockefeller Farms, said C.J. Walke, farm manager.

“We are at the end of lambing season — about 40 lambs so far, and maybe one old ewe left to lamb,” Walke said.

He lives with his family in the farmhouse on the 125-acre farm, operated by the College of the Atlantic. It is located not far from Bar Harbor, a favorite tourist destination along what is referred to as the “Downeast Coast” of Maine.

COA students spend time with the sheep at Peggy Rockefeller Farms.COA students spend time with the sheep at Peggy Rockefeller Farms. Credit: Yoi Ashida ’20“(The) College of the Atlantic has a pre-vet club organized by students. They scheduled a week’s worth of overnights at the farm to check for new lambs and take care of any needs of the newly born lambs,” Walke said. “Seven or eight students spent at least one night at the farm, and two of them (the organizers) spent many nights. They worked in the heart of lambing, when lambs were born pretty much every day.”

Founded in 1969, the College of the Atlantic became the first college in the country to focus its academic offerings on the interactive relationship between people and the environment, according to Rob Levin, communications director.

Peggy Rockefeller Farms is one of two farms operated by the college — the other, Beech Hill Farm, according to its website, is a 73-acre organic operation certified by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, or MOFGA. It devotes 6 acres to vegetable production, along with three small heirloom apple orchards, a pasture for pigs and poultry and five greenhouses. The remainder consists of open forest.

“Currently, we have several classes that use the farms at some point during the term,” Levin said about Beech Hill and Peggy Rockefeller Farms.

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