Bellwether Farm

The Project:

The Diocese of Ohio is creating a new camp and retreat center that will feature a working, sustainable farm with the newly christened name, Bellwether Farm! The 137-acre property, located in Wakeman Township in Huron County, is geographically centered in the Diocese, and the new facilities will include:

• Seasonal cabins for 96 campers and 32 staff members
• A farmstead with staff housing, animal and equipment barns, and gardens for children and adults to learn and work
• A central dining and program facility for campers and program participants, housing a chapel, meeting rooms and a teaching kitchen
• Playing fields for a variety of activities
• Restroom facilities and changing rooms near the five-acre swimming pond
• 40 Overnight accommodations that are single or double occupancy with a private bath
• Each pod of six to eight rooms will include a lounge area and kitchenette for small group meetings

All facilities will meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and be accessible to anyone with mobility challenges. Buildings will incorporate renewable energy technology and other sustainable technologies that we will use as educational tools.

The Location:

4655 State Route 60 Wakeman, Ohio 44889

The Name:
Since the Middle Ages, shepherds have singled out one ram in a flock to wear a bell and indicate where the flock is going. The bellwether has come to signify a harbinger or herald of what is to come. In this sense, it is the Church’s vocation to be a bellwether of the kingdom of God, and the vocation of every Christian is to be a bellwether of God’s mission to heal the world. It is, of course, our common prayer that through this new camp, retreat, and education center, and in each of our lives, we will be the bellwether of Christ’s redeeming and reconciling love. In the coming weeks, construction will move forward. We anticipate that the camp buildings will be completed in the spring of 2017, and we expect to begin an initial schedule of camp sessions in the summer. We look forward to November 2017 to gathering with you at the fully built Bellwether Farm.

Recent News:
After years of planning, Bellwether Farm, the Diocese of Ohio’s camp, retreat, and education center, held its official ground-breaking in the fall of 2016. This momentous occasion would not have been possible without the visionary and generous support of the members of our Diocesan community.

Construction is well underway at the farm, with anticipated completion by November of 2017. The major infrastructure, including systems and roads, is in place. Crews have begun to excavate and pour concrete pads for the camp buildings and three barns. Yoder Barns will be raising the barns and building the camp cabins this spring. Construction on the dining/meeting building and the retreat residences will be ongoing throughout the summer and fall.

The first full-time staff are being recruited and hired. Jessica Miller joined the team in March 2017 as program manager. Jessica studied ecology and English at Calvin College. She worked with the Creation Care Study Program in New Zealand and has been an environmental and agricultural educator in multiple non-profits, schools and organizations in the Northeast Ohio area including work as a field botanist for the Cleveland Metroparks and in natural areas conservation at the Holden Arboretum. In this new role, she will be responsible for the final planning and preparation for the camp opening in the summer of 2018, as well as the development of ongoing adult and youth programming.

We are in the process of interviewing for a Farm Manager. S/he will be responsible for all matters related to the farm operations. This includes working with the program staff to develop an educational curriculum about sustainable, regenerative agriculture, as well as coordinating with kitchen staff on supporting food service for the center and the teaching kitchen. The farm manager will also engage with the center’s administration to develop and institute land management practices that meet the highest standards of environmental stewardship.
Check back for more updates soon.

Upcoming Events:
Come join us at Bellwether Farm for the upcoming Youth & Family Work Days! We will be looking for enthusiastic volunteers to come out and help plant the gardens and little building projects around the farm. Lunch will be provided.  Please RSVP by clicking this link or by contacting Claudia Wilson at 216.774.0483 or by email at cwilson@dohio.org!

  • Saturday, June 24th 2017 @ 10 am – 2 pm

Donate:
Your gift to support Bellwether Farm may be made securely online using the Donate button below. Clicking on the Donate button will take you to PayPal, where your personal information will be encrypted and processed. You do not need a PayPal account to use this means of donation.

If you would like to make a gift to help outfit Bellwether Farm. Please visit: http://dohio.org/outfitting-bellwether-farm

Any further questions about ways to give to the campaign, please contact Laura Hnat at 216.774.0463 or at lhnat@dohio.org.

Department