Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary Looking to Add Staff

Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary in Northport is hosting Santa Claus today as it welcomes visitors who come to see the rescued animals that live there.

But the holiday celebration comes at a time that the organization operating the animal sanctuary is eager to find the funds to hire workers to keep everything running smoothly.

Lorene Eriksen, who has been a member of the nonprofit Friends of the Farm for nearly 18 years, said the farm needs four workers instead of depending nearly entirely on a rotating cast of volunteers.

The Town of Huntngton provided seasonal workers for a time, she said, and noted that the group was extremely grateful for their contributions,  but otherwise volunteers carry the full load of caring, feeding and treating the animals who are living out their lives on the farm. That includes Annabelle the cow, goats, sheep, alpacas, chickens, ducks, peafowl, and turkeys.

The farm on Burt Avenue dates back to the 1800s and has, in addition to the animals,  barns, botanical and vegetable gardens, a country store and native wildlife, all of which require attention.  It also offers an education program.

The farm was purchased from its longtime owner in 2007 by the Town of Huntington and Suffolk County to keep the landmark going. The town and the Village of Northport take care of different needs, such as utilities, plowing snow, outside maintenance and other work.

But other work done by volunteers, she said, needs reliable workers on a regular schedule.

The organization has reached out to the town and the county for further assistance.
Earlier this year, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi worked with Councilman Sal Ferro and Town Supervisor Ed Smyth to bring a new heating system to the barn.
The farm is open today from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., with Santa Claus expected between  11:30 p.m.-1 p.m.

Councilman Sal Ferro, Town Supervisor Ed Smyth and Lorene Eriksen in February.


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