Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk (CCE Suffolk) held the unveiling of a new, interactive walkway at its 272-acre Suffolk County Farmand Educational Center in Yaphank as well as the announcement of a new visitor center. The walkway was funded by National Grid.
Designed with multiple, life-size elements designed for visitor engagement, the walkway features a series of stations that highlight CCE Suffolk’s wide range of program areas. Among the disciplines showcased are agriculture, marine science, gardening and horticulture, camping, life skills education, and family wellness.
The Suffolk County Farm is a working farm that offers hands-on, research-based learning within a year-round, educational environment. It hosts 100,000 visitors each year, 20,000 of whom are schoolchildren.
The farm is also home to unique educational programs for children ranging from pre-K to 12th grade, summer day camps, a nature-based preschool, and special events, among many other offerings. Its 1871 Haybarn is listed on the National Historic Registry.
According to a 2019 report by the state comptroller’s office, Suffolk County ranked fourth among the state’s 62 counties in agricultural sales. The county’s 560 farms generated $225.6 million in sales.
State Senator Dean Murray, State Assemblyman Joe DeStefano, and County Legislators James Mazzarella, Sarah Anker, Nick Caracappa, Sam Gonzalez, and Jason Richberg were among the elected officials participating in today’s event.
“Thanks to National Grid, the Suffolk County Farm now features a dynamic, new walkway providing an immersive experience that captures the essence of CCE’s multifaceted programs,” said Vanessa Lockel, Executive Director of CCE Suffolk. “The visitor center and walkway will together help the farm carry on its tradition of community learning that dates back more than a century.”
“We’re proud to partner with CCE Suffolk to create an interactive walkway that’s designed to educate and inspire visitors to the Suffolk County Farm,” said Kathy Wisnewski, Director of Customer and Community Engagement at National Grid. “Community learning is deeply aligned with National Grid’s values, and we’re delighted to contribute to an initiative that broadens public understanding of such critical subjects as sustainability, history, and science.”
“The new walkway is far more than an entry point into this remarkable farm,” said Sonia Spar, President of the CCE Suffolk Board of Directors. “It’s truly an educational journey in itself. Visitors will enjoy a holistic experience that enables them to appreciate the extraordinary breadth of CCE Suffolk’s offerings in a personal way.”
“While I regret not being able to attend today’s ceremony in person, I support the innovative initiatives undertaken by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk at the Suffolk County Farm,” commented Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “The interactive walkway emphasizes that the farm is not just a place to visit; it’s a learning hub that exemplifies the rich agricultural heritage and forward-thinking sustainability efforts of our county.”
“Visited by tens of thousands of people each year, the Suffolk County Farm is one of Suffolk’s true gems,” said County Legislator James Mazzarella. “National Grid deserves praise for underwriting a beautiful new walkway that stands as a testament to CCE Suffolk‘s ambitious program of community outreach and education.”
“The Suffolk County Farm is emblematic of the leadership role that this county plays in New York State’s agricultural sector,” said Rob Carpenter, Director of the Long Island Farm Bureau. “Its far-reaching educational agenda deepens Long Islanders’ understanding of the world of agriculture. We applaud CCE Suffolk and National Grid for the tremendous work they’ve done here.”