I want to give a Shout Out in this photo essay to the wonderful work that goes on at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas! Just as the seagoing cowboys and innumerable volunteers helped Heifer Project become a viable organization, today’s volunteers help keep the Heifer Ranch and Heifer USA running.
Spring 2018 volunteers, minus the snowbirds who had already left for home. Photo credit: Ian Peters, Residential Staff Coordinator.
For anyone out there who has a hankering to volunteer somewhere, this is a great place to do it! A lively community of both young adult, in-transition, and retired short-term and long-term volunteers (including several from overseas) gathers here. They serve in maintenance, gardening, education, the visitor center/gift shop, dining, the farm – wherever volunteers can be useful. Housing and a stipend are provided.
The mission of Heifer International to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth binds the volunteers and staff together in a common purpose that forms a close-knit community. A potluck meal is shared year-round on Thursday nights. During the height of the snowbird season, game nights are enjoyed on Tuesdays. Special events, like a pie baking contest, Memorial Day cookout, and the annual “Hoof it for Heifer” race at nearby Petit Jean State Park, pop up year round. And Northwest Central Arkansas is a beautiful place to explore on days off.
Since I’m not a volunteer, but rather came to sequester myself to write, I rented one of the apartments available to guests. Very comfortable and enjoyable!
My make-shift office in the dining nook of Rupel Apartment.
Most volunteers live in the private volunteer housing area of the Ranch. The yellow building on the left is the “Com-shack,” the volunteer community building where potlucks, game nights, etc. take place.
The Dan West Visitor Center and Gift Shop is where a visit to the Ranch begins.
Volunteer Aly Pagano from North Carolina welcomes visitors and gives them their first introduction to the Ranch.
Volunteer Susan Bigler from Little Rock sold me a few things!
Three-year farmer apprentice Michelle Michalek from Michigan prepares the chicken nursery for its next batch of chicks.
Volunteer Marie Berniere from France and three-year gardener apprentice Tradesha Clark from Boston tend the garden on a hot day.
Year-long Brethren Volunteer Service worker Bob O’Neill from Pennsylvania spends much of his time mowing the lawns.
My husband Rex uses his building contractor background to design and construct a new electric house for the RV area.
When not needed on the mower, Bob helps Rex finish the electric house.
Mission accomplished! Much to the satisfaction of those who bring their RVs to live in while volunteering.
Nearby Petit Jean State Park is one of our favorite places to go on weekends to soak up the beauty of the Arkansas Ouachita Mountains.
But we needn’t go much further than out our apartment door to enjoy stunning views and absorb the peaceful surroundings to the accompaniment of bird songs.
A wonderful benediction to our two-month stay.
We ended our time at the Ranch June 8. We’ll be back!
I greatly appreciated this piece and the visuals of the ranch. Wishing I could volunteer, but as I approach age 80 I am increasingly made aware of the limits of my physical stamina.
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