Welcome to the Buchanan School Farm

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The Buchanan School Farm is available to be explored by individuals or groups. The farm offers an experience of easy access and opportunity to explore the farm buildings and barn, prairie grasses, prairie flowers, deciduous trees, coniferous trees, a sugar shack, a centennial one room school, and seasonally cultivated farmland. 

Farm Activities for Buchanan Students

Pumpkin Patch……Preschool/Kindergarten

Recycling/Reusing…….. 1st grade

Cider Making……………… 2nd grade

Garden Planting………….2nd grade

Corn Harvest…………… 3rd grade

Buchanan History………. 3rd grade

Maple Syrup Making……… 4th grade

Outdoor education involves over 600 elementary students participating in hands-on learning about the past, present, and future of agriculture and environmental science.

School Farm Contact Information

Outdoor Education Coordinator

School Staff Liaison

Use this contact form for questions or comments related to the School Farm

Farm Council

Farm Caretakers

Ira and Marie Fox
Mark Nixon
Alouch Whitfield
Jeff Bailey
Ben Davidson
Kelly Laesch
Melissa Frost

Old Fashioned Plow Day

Plow Day occurs each spring to celebrate the breaking of ground for the new season of growing crops. Buchanan’s heritage as an agricultural town makes this a community favorite. Plow Day starts with an old fashioned pancake breakfast, with hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities for young and old alike. All while local farmers bring their tractors of all makes and models to break ground for the season.

Tour of the Farm

HISTORY

The Buchanan School Farm was purchased in 1972-73 to provide a site for a new middle school. The farm site and land not dedicated to the middle school was developed to house the school system’s outdoor education program and the district’s FFA program. 

After the FFA program was discontinued by the school system the farm program concentrated on serving the needs of the elementary outdoor education and Buchanan history programs. Currently, the farm continues to meet the needs of the Outdoor Education Program. 4-H is actively involved with a tree plantation and our portable classroom is open for interested groups to use. There is also a prairie area under development.

RED BARN

The farm’s vintage two story, red barn faces Andrews Road to the north. This sturdy building provides our school district with many different projects throughout the school year. Elementary students collect, shuck, grind, bag, and store field corn inside the barn’s corn crib. In the spring, scarecrows are designed and assembled inside the barn. The completed scarecrows are placed “on duty” in the pumpkin patch planted by 2nd grade students. 

The red barn becomes a pancake house for our annual Plow Day Pancake Breakfast. It also houses farm equipment and occasionally livestock.

After the FFA program was discontinued by the school system the farm program concentrated on serving the needs of the elementary outdoor education and Buchanan history programs. Currently, the farm continues to meet the needs of the Outdoor Education Program. 4-H is actively involved with a tree plantation and our portable classroom is open for interested groups to use. There is also a prairie area under development.

SCHOOL HOUSE

The school house is located west of the caretaker’s residence. It was built in 1861 and sat on the corner of Wagner Road & Gardner Road. In 1982, Gardner School was donated and subsequently moved to the farm. After much renovation, it became a focal point of the farm site. It is open to the public on special occasions. Its original furnishings include furniture, lamps, wood burning stove, instructional materials, and a piano. The out-building was donated to the farm by a neighbor.

Sap collection tins hang from trees.

SUGAR SHACK

Just a few steps behind the school house takes you to our upgraded Sugar Shack. Thanks to our local Boy Scout Troop and volunteers, it has been renovated on several occasions. Each spring our elementary students collect maple sap and boil off the maple syrup. This structure also serves as a “snack” shack for our annual Plow Day, selling hot dogs and snacks to visitors as they enjoy the farm and day’s activities.

LEARNING CENTER

Walk across the footpath to visit our on-site learning center/portable classroom and our restroom facilities. This structure is utilized throughout the school year by our district teachers, students, and local service and volunteer organizations. 

Exit the learning center, turn left, and walk down the path where you will observe an array of seasonal flowers and grasses native to the fens of Michigan

ARBORETUM & NURSERY

As you continue down the path, you will observe our detached forest edge plantings of native hardwoods and conifers. Just before the walking path makes a turn to the left, you will find our white pine nursery. Our local 4H club planted 100 white pines in honor of 4H’s 100th Anniversary. 4H members are responsible for the protection and maintenance of these Michigan State trees.

FENCE ROW

As you continue down the path; you will come upon what remains of an abandoned “fence row.” The fence row once separated cultivated farm land from pastures. Now it is an undisturbed natural habitat for plants and animals. Look for multiflora rose, raspberries, Butternut trees, and Osage orange trees, to name a few. Animals and wildlife you might encounter include birds, chipmunks, fox squirrels, frogs, rabbits, and the occasional barn cat and others.

CULTIVATED FARMLAND

The path now turns back toward the Learning Center. To the left you will see a major portion of the farm’s cultivated land. This land is rented out to private farmers to raise corn and/or soybeans each year. At our annual Plow Day, visitors are entertained by a tractor plowing completion.

LOCAL TREES

Trees

Near the Sugar Shack you will find alternated plantings of Crab Apple and Hazelnut trees. If you look closely you will see prairie flowers and prairie grasses sown between the trees.