Hiram College

Students plant and harvest produce to feed animals, sell at local farmers’ market.

Hiram College junior Dana Yeater snips a sprig of dill, takes a whiff and plops it into her basket.  She and fellow Hiram students Madison Proctor and Kaylee Savage meander carefully through a garden patch filled with cilantro, parsley, basil, spearmint and other herbs. They

Hiram Students at Mantua Farmers Market

From left, Anastasia Grossman ’19, adjunct professor Jane O’Brien (background) and James H. Barrow Biological Field Station intern Madison Proctor’ 19 at the Mantua Farmers Market.

harvest the ripe crops they planted and nurtured throughout the summer as part of their internship duties at the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station. Later, they’ll bundle the culinary accompaniments and also assemble flower bouquets and seed packets to sell at the Mantua Farmers Market and under the Hinsdale arch on campus.

“I love the sustainability effort,” says Proctor, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies. She explains that most of the produce grown at the field station is used to feed resident amphibians and birds and also injured fowl.

“We have had a huge number of ducks in rehab this summer,” says adjunct professor Jane O’Brien, manager of the field station’s Butterfly Hill.

O’Brien, who guides the interns, says that she and her crew work about 120 hours a week, collectively, to raise and harvest produce for injured and orphaned animals on the 545-acre site. Here, they also collect rain water, create compost and attend to several gardens. They grow everything from carrots to cosmos to a collection of pawpaw seedlings.

“I’m very proud of these,” says O’Brien, who points to the high-demand pawpaw plantings.

O’Brien says she also is proud of her interns. They provide an invaluable service to the field station, says O’Brien, who describes the natural treasure as a place where hikers, families and nature-lovers come to explore and where students come to learn.

“It’s a place where student interns receive authentic experiences in wildlife rehabilitation, animal care, gardening and other areas,” O’Brien explains. “The field station is the ultimate outdoor classroom.”