Barnstable Land Trust (BLT) officially opened the new Michael R. Kramer Center on Oct. 24 at its 22-acre Fuller Farm property on Route 149 in Marstons Mills with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The three-season post and beam barn will provide storage and maintenance space for BLT’s land management equipment, as well as workshop space to help educate the public not only about the past, but also about the future of environmental sustainability including renewable energy sources including solar power, alternative septic systems, permaculture gardening and more.
“We are so excited to see our vision for Fuller Farm become a reality” says Janet Milkman, Barnstable Land Trust’s Executive Director. “We acquired the property in 2012 from the owner, Barbara Fuller, who never wanted to see it developed. She was very happy to sell it to Barnstable Land Trust saying ‘people don’t know where their food comes from anymore.’ The barn is symbolic of how we are honoring that past but also educating people about the future.”
“This project is the successful culmination of years of planning efforts from the board, staff, and an extensive team of volunteers including project leader Peter Pometti,” added Board President Leigh Townes. “Thanks to support from many generous donors as well as local groups like Tree Fellers Arbor Care, AmeriCorps Cape Cod, and the Marston Mills Historical Society, this truly is a community effort.”
The new barn is the result of donations from individuals who share BLT’s vision of preserving land in Barnstable and elsewhere. The barn is named after Michael R. Kramer (1936-2020), whose career was spent in public relations for AT&T and NYNEX, and who summered at Centerville’s Wequaquet Lake starting in 1944 until his passing.
“He loved the natural beauty of Cape Cod, finding inspiration and comfort in the special places that organizations like Barnstable Land Trust have successfully protected,” said Richard Kramer, Michael’s brother, who lives in Centerville. “The family is so pleased that we can honor his memory by being part of the Fuller Farm legacy,”
A 6.4 kW solar system was installed by Solar Rising of Mashpee thanks to a challenge grant by the Tern Foundation’s TernSOLAR program and matching funds from the Donald C. McGraw Foundation. It will supply electricity to the barn as well as to BLT’s offices on Route 6A, while also supporting a solar electric vehicle charging station.
An extensive rainwater harvesting system will supply water to native plantings surrounding the barn as well as to a nearby permaculture garden cultivated by Resilient Roots, a nonprofit partner that will host educational workshops in the barn.
The alternative septic system will remove almost all the nutrients from the one bathroom. Installing an alternative system will protect the nearby ponds, and complements Barnstable Clean Water Coalition’s nearby Shubael Pond project which is converting 20 traditional septic systems with this innovative nitrogen-reducing technology.
The BLT also has a partnership with a goat company and a pollinator field on the farm as well as meadow and woodland hiking trails, where visitors can be inspired by local poet Kim Baker’s Words in the Wild poem, “Let Red Live In Your Heart.” The Fuller Farm was a dairy farm for a hundred years, and then a farm with a kitchen garden that bordered cranberry bogs and a holly nursery.
For more information about the Barnstable Land Trust, visit here