by Monica Charette
It was a pajama party like no other at Hart-to-Hart Farm & Education Center in Albion on May 16, when 100 children, dressed in their pajamas, welcomed baby lambs, goats, calves, and other newborn animals – also wearing pajamas – as part of the annual ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower.
This year’s event featured hands-on educational sessions, including teaching kids how to milk a cow, fetch eggs from a real chicken coop, spin lamb’s wool, and stretch out at goat yoga! Children were able to hold the newborn babies, learn about caring for them, and experience a working, organic farm.
Linda Hartkopf, owner of Hart-to-Hart Farm, with her husband, Doug, said she enjoys the opportunity to share her love for animals with the community.
“Many of the children who came have never been on a working farm,” said Hartkopf. “We take great pride in educating them about caring for animals, and sharing our love and pride in raising them. There’s nothing like introducing a child to a newborn animal.”
Hart-to-Hart Farm is a family-owned and operated organic dairy farm that offers a variety of summer educational programs for children, adults and families. The event is held each year in memory of Cassidy Charette, an Oakland teen who died in a hayride accident in 2014. Cassidy, known for her kindness as an active community volunteer, was also passionate about caring for animals as a long-time summer camper at Hart-to-Hart Farm.
“Every year we get further away from losing Cass, holds a special place for us all,” said Cassidy’s friend Shawna Lachance, who now serves on the foundation’s board of directors. “We knowing we are continuing the work she would have lived her life doing.”
Families attending the event made monetary gifts and donated a truckload of food and pet items, which was donated to Humane Society Waterville Area in honor and memory of Cassidy, who was also a shelter volunteer.
For information about Hart-to-Hart Farm & Education Center, visit hart2hartfarm.org. For more event images, visit the ShineOnCass Facebook page. To learn more about the ShineOnCass Foundation, please visit shineoncass.org.