Campus flock of sheep will be mowing lawn; public activities focused on landscape, public-use and history
The public is invited to attend Sustainable EweMass, a comprehensive demonstration of sustainable land management, Sept. 23 and 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies’s meadow, at 650 East Pleasant Street in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Long before there were riding lawnmowers, sheep kept the grass short in parks and public spaces. Why not, in the era of global climate change, bring sheep back to help mow the lawns at the University of Massachusetts Amherst?
“Sustainable EweMass is meant to be a community conversation about how we use and care for our shared lands,” says UMass Amherst wildlife conservation lecturer, Kelly Klingler. “This interdisciplinary project offers us an opportunity to consider how we might employ sustainable and traditional forms of land management while also promoting inclusive access to green spaces which we know are critical to the health and well-being of our community members.”
Bringing together social scientists, natural scientists, humanists and farmers, Sustainable EweMass is a collaborative, cross-campus, interdisciplinary project using sheep as a touchpoint for thinking about the past, present and future at UMass Amherst and beyond. The project offers an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the broader community to collectively explore the multiple dimensions of land management and animal husbandry, their environmental and social impacts, and issues of social justice, community and access to the natural world.
Furthermore, sheep, wool and shepherding all have deep historical and cultural roots. “The events and activities we have planned deepen our understanding of the vital role sheep have played both in the development of our New England landscapes, and in the understood connections to the environment in the Renaissance,” says UMass Amherst art historian Margaret Vickery. “The simplicity of watching the sheep graze together with an understanding the wider historical and cultural context throughout the centuries and across the globe, will hopefully play a role in re-connecting us all to the landscape and its overall health and fecundity.”
The two-day public series of events and activities includes everything from a workshop on terroir, an art exhibit, “Mapping Terroir: Memory & Myth,” by Andrea Caluori, a wool-dying demonstration and much more.
A full schedule, parking information and all details is available at https://www.ewemass.org/.
***PLEASE, FOR THE SAFETY OF THE SHEEP, LEAVE YOUR DOGS AT HOME***