Welcome Visitors! Seasonal Updates and Information for Visiting Sheep Pasture
Q: Is Sheep Pasture a public town park?
A: Sheep Pasture is actually private property, owned and operated by the Natural Resources Trust of Easton, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The NRT allows free public access to the property for passive recreational uses, such as hiking, birding, animal viewing, picnicking, and more. The NRT also operates a small model farm on the property, with a cow, sheep, geese, goats, and chickens; these animals are also available for public viewing daily. The NRT operates Sheep Pasture with the support of its members, endowments, programs, events, and grants, and its operations are not municipally funded. All members of the public, including businesses and individuals who live outside of Easton, are encouraged to become NRT members to support this beloved community jewel. To join NRT today, visit our secure online NRT Membership Store or call 508-238-6049.
Q: Are there programs at Sheep Pasture that we can attend?
A: There are a number of events that are scheduled throughout the year at the Sheep Pasture property, including the Spring Farm Festival, Harvest Fair, Family Science Night Hikes, Sheep Pasture Nature Camp, and more. To find out more information about these programs, please click our events page for specific event details. Due to our small staff size, free daily programs are not offered; however, the Sheep Pasture property is open throughout the year for no fee, and visitors are encouraged to spend time outdoors with their families.
If you are a teacher, care provider, scout leader, or member of a community group who is seeking a class or program offered by the NRT teacher/naturalists, please see our education page for general program information or contact the education department for more details regarding scheduling and pricing.
Q: Are the trails at Sheep Pasture currently open?
A: Yes. Sheep Pasture is open for all kinds of personal outdoor recreation, from dawn to dusk each day; the exact hours vary seasonally. All people, from any town, are welcome here, and there is no charge to visit Sheep Pasture, use the trail system, picnic outdoors, or visit with NRT's farm animals. For those with young children please be aware that some, but not all, trails are accessible to strollers. With children or pets, we recommend planning short hikes, especially when taking hikes in cold weather or with difficult trail conditions, as trails are not groomed. While you visit, many birds and mammals remain active in our area throughout the seasons, and visitors may also be able to see different animal tracks or signs left behind. Be sure to read the many 3M NaturePages educational signs posted throughout the property; many also have activity suggestions as well.
A trail map of the Sheep Pasture property is available for viewing and/or download on the NRT website. Copies are also available at the NRT office, located in the Carriage House building. Please note that Sheep Pasture trails and natural/wooded areas are generally ungroomed. Trails reflect the naturally existing conditions, including areas with mud, downed branches, ice, snow, rocks, or other natural conditions. The NRT makes every effort to maintain the trails in a safe manner, but natural changes in the environment do occur without warning. Trails are not plowed in winter months. Please use caution when using the trail system, particularly in thunderstorms, on windy days, or during other significant weather events. All visitors utilize NRT properties, including Sheep Pasture, at their own risk.
The NRT promotes the use of Sheep Pasture as a natural location for families and individuals to enjoy for recreation, hiking, running, wildlife viewing, birding ,and other related activities. To maintain the peaceful and safe environment for all visitors, drones are not permitted at NRT properties. Also, for the safety of visitors, only NRT vehicles are permitted on any trails outside of the main driveway at Sheep Pasture.
Q: Is Sheep Pasture open in the winter and spring for recreation?
A: Sheep Pasture is open throughout the year for many forms of outdoor recreation. We encourage visitors to enjoy the wonder of the natural world throughout the Sheep Pasture property. There are many locations suitable for family and individual activities. For the protection of the environment and wildlife, please note that motorized recreational vehicles, including dirt bikes, snow machines, and ATV's, are not allowed on any properties or trails owned or maintained by NRT in any season; these cannot be used because of the damage they can cause to habitats and trails. Trail style or other bicycles are allowed, provided riders stay on the gravel paths that are established. Horses are also not allowed on the trail system at NRT.
When participating in any form of outdoor recreation, please be sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Dressing in several layers is recommended to allow individuals to adapt to changing weather conditions and activity levels. Walking on trails or fields, even in cooler weather conditions, requires that people (and pets) drink regularly to stay hydrated. Water is not available on trails, so we recommend visitors bring their own reusable water bottles. Sunscreen and insect repellent are also strongly recommended for all visitors in all seasons. For safety reasons, when bringing children to Sheep Pasture to enjoy the property we ask that they be accompanied on the property by a parent or guardian at all times.
Q: Are food and drinks available at Sheep Pasture?
A: We do not have food or drinks available at Sheep Pasture. However, you are encouraged to bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful grounds while you share your meal outdoors. If you are planning to walk the trails, we encourage visitors to bring a water bottle to remain hydrated when being active outdoors in all seasons. Please place any trash in the convenient receptacles found throughout the property.
Q: Are there ticks or mosquitoes at Sheep Pasture?
A: Yes. All natural, outdoor locations may have any number of insects present throughout the year, including ticks and mosquitoes. Ticks, especially, can be present even in seasons when we may think it would be too cold for them to be active.
Though they are present, there are several steps that you can take to minimize your exposure to these biting insects while still enjoying time outdoors. We encourage visitors to wear long sleeves, long pants, and light colored clothing to minimize the chances of being bitten and to maximize the ability to see any insects that may be on clothing. Insect repellents are also strongly suggested for anyone spending time outdoors. We recommend protecting your pet from biting insects and checking them thoroughly for insects after being outside as well.
For more information about protecting yourself from biting insects we encourage you to click here for the Mass.gov website for more information on repellents, tick removal, and more.
Q: Can I have my wedding photos or senior pictures taken at Sheep Pasture? Can I have my business cookout there this year?
A: Many professional photographers use the diverse backgrounds and locations at Sheep Pasture as the backdrop for creative and inspiring photos for their clients, and NRT requires any commercial/paid photographer to be business-level members to use the property as a shoot location. Photographers who are NRT business-level members are able to contact the NRT before your scheduled session to ensure there are no other events on site that could impact your special day. Please see our Photographer Info page under our Resources tab for more information and benefits for professional photographers and business information for potential photography clients, too.
If you are interested in having a private event, such as a business celebration, informal gathering, family reunion, wedding, or other gathering on the property, please contact the NRT office for more information by email or by phone at 508-238-6049 to learn more about availability, pricing, and requirements. We strongly recommend contacting the office at least 60-90 days prior to your event; many weekend dates fill 5-6 months in advance. Available spaces fill quickly in certain seasons, and contacting the NRT well ahead of your planned date can help secure your space.
To maintain the peaceful outdoor atmosphere for all visitors, leafleting cars, campaigning, or other promotional activities are not allowed at Sheep Pasture at any time.
Q: Does Sheep Pasture accept orphaned wildlife or farm animals in need of a home?
A: The care and rehabilitation of different types of wildlife is a very specialized field. At NRT we are generally not able to accept wildlife or domestic animals of any kind. However, if you do have a question or animal-related issue, we have an animal resources page on our website that may help you locate the appropriate agency or organization for help. For the safety of both the humans and animals involved, we strongly recommend individuals do not handle wildlife or animals they do not know without proper guidance from a professional.
Although we do have a number of different kinds of animals on site, for safety and animal husbandry reasons we are also generally unable to accept donations of farm or other domestic animals at Sheep Pasture. We cannot accept roosters at any time. We have specialized resource listings on our animal resources page for individuals who are seeking help with finding a new home for domestic animals like dogs, cats, or farm animals.
Q: Can I bring my class to Sheep Pasture this year?
A: We encourage all students and teachers to learn more about the natural world through meaningful environmental education. Sheep Pasture is available for classrooms wishing to have a fantastic outdoor learning experience. If you are a teacher who would like to use the property with your class and you do not need to book time with an NRT teacher/naturalist, please contact the NRT education department to set up a day and time for your visit, as we often have many classes on the property on a given day, and scheduling allows everyone to have a positive experience; depending on the size and needs of your group, a property fee may be assessed to reserve a specific space at Sheep Pasture. If you would like to schedule a program led by NRT's award-winning education team, we offer many different learning opportunities for students of all ages. Please see our education page for more information about topics and scheduling. We strongly recommend any classroom interested in visiting Sheep Pasture to contact the education department as early as possible, as spaces fill very quickly during the school year.
Q: Are dogs allowed at Sheep Pasture?
A: Yes, leashed dogs are allowed at Sheep Pasture, and the property can provide a welcome place to exercise pups (and their people!) who are in the house or at work during the day. Please make sure you take adequate precautions for your pet before heading outside for a long walk, including bringing water for them to drink during and after their exercise. For everyone's safety, all dogs, even dogs that are obedience trained, walking with a group or club, are people-friendly, or of a toy breed, must still be leashed and under the owner's close control at all times when on all areas of NRT property. Leashing requirements also are in effect in the field and wooded areas of the property. During your visit, we ask visitors with dogs that they please not allow their dogs to approach and bark at any of the animals in their enclosures, since this can sometimes scare the animals and make them feel trapped or panicked. Please do not allow dogs to approach groups of children or adults participating in programs around the property, as this can disrupt programs that are in progress. Any NRT staff member may require the leashing and /or removal of any dog at any time on any NRT property. Please help us keep Sheep Pasture safe and open for all people and their pets by following the leashing and property use guidelines. We appreciate your help!
Please note: For safety reasons dogs may not be allowed on site on specific days throughout the year. Dogs and other pets are not allowed on site during the NRT's Harvest Fair in October or at some other events. Please check the specific event page for information. The NRT reserves the right to restrict or remove dogs and/or other pets from its property at any time if needed, regardless of advertising. Working service dogs are always welcome at NRT and its events.
Q: Are the farm animals accessible in the winter and spring?
A: The farm animals live in their regular barns and paddocks throughout the year. The sheep, cow, goat, chickens, and geese are outdoors and are available for visitors to see every day. Just as we have daily schedules, the animals tend to move throughout their enclosures at different times of the day, so they may not be near the fences when you visit. Sometimes you may be able to catch them snoozing during their daily naps! The animals generally enjoy napping in the sun or in their barns in the cooler weather, or they may be in the shady forested areas when it's warmer, so you may still see them at a distance when they are resting. For everyone's safety we do not allow visitors or pets to enter any animal enclosure, and we discourage visitors from putting their hands through/ over animal fences.
We know that all visitors love the animals, and we are happy that many people have particular favorites whom they visit often. In order to keep all of the animals healthy, we do not allow visitors to feed the larger farm animals, including the sheep, goats, or cow. These animals receive a specialized diet to maintain their health and well being, and being fed other items (even foods that are generally seen as 'healthy' by people, such as apples, carrots, or other veggies) can actually make them sick over time. If every visitor fed just one treat, by the end of every day the animals would eat much more than an acceptable amount of 'junk food'. Over time, that type of diet can create health issues, just as excessive amount of treats can with people. We do provide all of the animals with occasional, planned 'treats' to supplement their diets and provide enrichment.
Beginning in late spring, at the chicken display area there are coin operated grain feeders available that dispense chicken feed which can be fed to the birds. This food is a type of chicken grain that will not interfere with their diets. The feeders accept quarters and are generally available from spring through fall. Any funds collected are used to help support the chickens throughout the year. Individuals who are booking a party or hall rental may also request to purchase chicken feed from NRT ahead of time so guests can feed the birds. Please discuss this with an NRT staff member when you are reserving your rental or party.
Q: Do I ever have to make special arrangements to use the Sheep Pasture property?
A: Yes, there are times when it is necessary to make special event arrangements with the NRT to use the property. If you are bringing a large group, hosting a business or large family event, bringing in outside food or entertainment, or requesting specific use of certain areas of the property, these are considered property rentals and require pre-approval from the NRT. If you have an event or activity you are interested in hosting at Sheep Pasture, please contact the NRT office at 508-238-6049 or by email at least 60-90 days prior to your event. Please note that days do fill quickly and not all dates are available.
All activities that are for any commercial or fundraising use, including fund raising by non-profit organizations, private or group lessons, meetings, or similar events, must make arrangements with the NRT office in advance, and a fee may be assessed for use. Photographers must be business level members to use Sheep Pasture for client sessions or mini sessions. Individuals or organizations must be members of NRT in order to rent/ reserve spaces at Sheep Pasture. Organizations or individuals who do not receive approval from NRT prior to their event or who violate their use agreement may be asked to leave the property by any staff member.
Q: How can I get a different question answered?
A: If you have other questions about using the Sheep Pasture property at any time of the year, please feel free to contact our office at 508-238-6049 or using our contact us page and a staff member will get back to you.
We look forward to seeing you at Sheep Pasture this year!
For other questions about the NRT of Easton, Sheep Pasture, or other NRT programs, please feel free to contact our main office directly at 508-238-6049 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, renew or become a new member online at the NRT Membership Store!