PHOTO STORY: Cass District Library hosts Barnyard to Go event
CASSOPOLIS — This week, Cass County children got a taste of life on a farm as they interacted with goats, kittens, chickens and bunnies at the Cass District Library.
Tuesday afternoon, the Cass District Library’s main branch, 319 M-62, Cassopolis, hosted a Barnyard to Go event by partnering with Hidden Acres Petting Farm, 50582 Pleasant St., Dowagiac. During the event, Hidden Acres co-founder Dawn East brought out a variety of farm animals to expose children to the animals and educate them on their roles both on the farm and in nature.
“We like to give back to the community and educate kids about animals,” East said. “I love these types of programs. That’s what we are about. We like to educate adults and children. I think events like this teach a lot about animals and the importance of life.”
East said Hidden Acres planned to host a similar event with the library last year but postponed it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. East said she was happy to finally host the Barnyard to Go event with the library to reach Cass County youth and teach them about farm animals.
“I think a lot of these kids have never seen these types of animals,” she said. “They learn a lot about farm animals and learn a lot of respect from the animals, as well.”
The Barnyard to Go event pairs with the library’s “Tails and Tales” summer reading program, which aims to promote summer reading. At the end of the program, prizes, including a one-year family membership to the Potawatomi Zoo, will be issued to top readers.
“This is a great way for the kids to interact with animals and have a hands-on experience,” said Youth Service Coordinator Stephanie Knepple. “It’s one thing for kids to read about animals in books. It’s another to see them brought to life.”
Both Knepple and McKinzie Kistler, marketing and program coordinator, said they were excited to partner with Hidden Acres for Tuesday’s event.
“Our animal programs have been very popular, especially the education ones,” Kistler said. “With Hidden Acres being based out of Dowagiac, we are excited to partner with a local organization.”
The Barnyard on the Go event will also be hosted from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the library’s Mason/Union branch, 4 to 6 p.m. July 20 at its Edwardsburg branch, and 1 to 3 p.m. July 22 at its Howard branch.
“We have a lot of fun things planned for the summer, so we look forward to seeing everyone there,” Knepple said.