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9/24/2018 - A message from Michael Catania, Executive Director of Duke Farms

A message from Michael Catania, Executive Director of Duke Farms

There was a time when you went to school for a specific number of years, finishing with a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or even a graduate or professional degree, and then your formal schooling was pretty much done. But that time is long past, and today we often hear about opportunities for continuing education, which is now routinely required in many professions.

This change reflects the new attitudes in our society that learning is not just something that we do when we are young. Rather, it can and should be a lifelong exercise to supplement our knowledge and skills. Whether undertaken to acquire new skills in a changing global economy or just for enrichment purposes, lifelong learning is, thankfully, here to stay.

At Duke Farms, we believe strongly in lifelong learning, and seek to offer our own variation on that principle, believing that you are never too young or too old to learn how to become a better steward of our resources so we can build a more sustainable society. Our approach is to promote both formal and informal means of learning, using Duke Farms and the wide array of demonstration projects we have on site as a living laboratory for lifelong learning.

Programs at Duke Farms begin with our Junior Naturalist series, which gives young children the chance to experience and appreciate the natural world. This series is followed by a wide array of programs, events, and short courses for older students and adults on a wide array of topics ranging from birding and ecological restoration to climate change and organic gardening. We also host a number of professional education courses, as well as lots of opportunities to learn by doing as a volunteer or a Duke Farms docent.

Learning is not something that takes place only in a classroom, and learning at Duke Farms combines the best of small classes and hands-on experience, which is often a better way to really understand and apply what we learn in the classroom. So I would like to invite all of you to come exercise those brain cells, and maybe even get your hands dirty and your feet wet, by joining us for some lifelong learning here at Duke Farms.


Looking for something to do after the Autumnal Equinox? Our upcoming monthly calendar offers 30+ programs and events designed to enrich your weeks ahead. Check out some topics presented by Duke Farms staff, friends, and visiting experts:

What Did the Owl Eat?
Date: Friday, October 5, 6:30p to 7:30p
Cost: $5

Birds of Prey
Date: Saturday, October 27, 1:00p to 2:00p
Cost: $5

The Big Turtle Year: Celebrating Wild Turtles
Date: Thursday, February 4, 9:00a to 12:30p
Cost: $35 per person.

Formal and informal educators, there is still time to register for these programs to meet your instructional needs:

ANJEE Autumn Conference
Date: Friday, September 28, 8:00a to 4:30p
Cost: $35-$75

Science on the Move
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 9:00a to 3:00p
Cost: $50

Collaborating with Nature to Tell Stories
Date: Friday, October 26, 6:00p to Sunday, October 28, 2:00p
Cost: $195