Diana Scarborough spent the better part of Wednesday morning putting up a fence. It was sweaty and tiring work, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Scarborough, you see, is the head of The Farm at Oatland North on St. Simons Island. And, as the name implies, there are a good many animals there, all of which need love and care.
That’s been Scarborough’s daily mission since taking the reigns of The Farm from her close friend and founder, Barbara Murrah. The two women met as nurses at the Brunswick hospital and forged a close bond through their shared love of animals.
When Murrah was stricken with cancer and passed away, Scarborough knew it was her duty to keep The Farm going. And with an army of volunteers and supports — she did.
Today, The Farm is a thriving 501c3, tucked away in the woods near Cannon’s Point on St. Simons Island. Most of the four-legged residents that call the location home were abused before being brought to the location.
“It just breaks my heart,” Murrah said of the animals’ prior treatment.
“But we also get them from people who aren’t able to take care of them anymore. Just (Tuesday) we got three little goats from a lady who had become too ill to take care of them. She had to move out of the state so we went and got them.”
But today, the pack — five goats, one cow, 12 cats and 12 horses — are all safe and sound, nurtured by Scarborough and Farm’s volunteers. But the group still needs the help of the community to continue their work. It’s why they plan a number of fundraisers throughout the year.
Many of those are geared toward adults, with drinks, bites and entertainment. However, Scarborough also feels it is important to get youngsters involved. So on Sunday, the Farm is opening its gates for an annual spring festival, inviting families to come to the site and see what the nonprofit is all about.
“We’ve been trying to spruce things up for the festival ... that’s why I was building the fence,” she said with a laugh. “But we will have our newest event which is the spring festival which will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. It’s free, and we will have a bake sale. There will be free snacks, hot dogs, chips and drinks. We will have a little Putt-Putt course set up too.”
While they are not asking for money to enter, donations do fuel their organization. Scarborough is hopeful that visitors will enjoy meeting the animals and feel moved to support the cause.
She hopes that the experience will also encourage the next generation of animal lovers.
“We will do little tours and let the children meet all the animals. It gives the kids a chance to see and interact with the animals,” she said.
Seeing these animals is something that has become a bit of a rarity for children these days, Scarborough adds. But she hopes the Farm can provide encounters that will inspire kindness in those who attend.
“I grew up around animals but a lot of kids nowadays don’t. But it is really good to get them outside and away from computer screens,” she said.
“It also teaches them that just because animals is old or come from bad situations ... that doesn’t mean that they can’t go on to live a happy life. It is very important to treat animals with kindness. We benefit from that kindness as much as they do. It’s good for us and good for them. It makes us feel good and is certainly beneficial for the animals.”