Educating the community through hands-on outreach

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2019

As a non-profit organization, The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) serves many purposes in the community. Many people know that FENCE functions as an Equestrian event center, a place to go hiking, or maybe a place to go for an event such as the annual Fall festival, Go Fly a Kite Day, or a monthly family concert, but FENCE serves another important purpose in the world of environmental and science based learning. The organization offers Project FENCE to surrounding schools, homeschool groups, church groups and other youth oriented groups. This facet of FENCE aims to educate youth in the community through hands-on, engaging environmental and science based lessons that can take place both in school and at the nature center. These programs are taught mainly by FENCE’s Americorps Project Conserve member. Jess Kerr is the current Americorps member placed at FENCE serving as the Environmental Education Assistant. Jess spend the majority of her time at FENCE working with children grades Kindergarten thru Fifth grade educating with Project FENCE programs.  


Topics for Project FENCE range greatly depending on the grade but some favorites are All about bats, Ecosystems, I spy the food web, Color me Green, and Phases of the moon. No matter the subject the lessons engage the student learners by getting them up and moving and working together in hands-on activities. In the Color me Green program students discuss the import roles plants play in their ecosystems and they even get to eat a healthy snack by examining a plate full of veggies and determining what part of the plant they are eating. To help encourage teachers to bring FENCE into their classrooms all of the programs correspond with North Carolina and South Carolina State Standards. These programs are always offered at no cost to make them more accessible to all whether they take place at school or at the FENCE center. On Occasion programs can be offered to the public in other locations. Recently, FENCE offered a “Wiggly worms” program at the local library. During this program, participants were able to observe and interact with worms, getting up close and personal with them as they learned all about these beneficial creatures.  

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By offering these types of programs for free to the community. FENCE hopes to be an asset to the learning process as well as encourage young learners to respect and care for the environment and the flora and fauna that inhabit the earth. Through these outreach programs, FENCE is able to reach thousands of children each year with programs taking place in Polk County, Spartanburg County, Henderson County, Buncombe County, and Rutherford County. FENCE is always looking to add a new school or youth group to our Project FENCE schedule. For more information about Project FENCE or other programs at FENCE call 828-859-9021, email, or visit 


FENCE is located at 3381 Hunting Country Road in Tryon, North Carolina. The FENCE center is open Monday-Friday 8am-5pm but the FENCE property is open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset.