Crowe’s Nest Farm facing challenges as school field trips slow drastically during pandemic

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MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — From chickens and sheep to bison and a porcupine, Crowe’s Nest Farm in Manor has it all.

“We came out here for our special girl’s third birthday,” said Maggie Fitzgerald, visiting the farm for the first time.

Birthdays are just one of the reasons people stop at the farm dedicated to taking in rescue animals. Many schools from around Central Texas take field trips to learn about life on the farm and educate their students about endangered species.

“The kids get to learn about the animals up close and personal,” said Jessica Myers, who was visiting with her kids.

The farm, which is also a nonprofit, relies on the income from school field trips to continue running, but when schools shut down, the field trips stopped.

“We lost about 40,000 kids last year and another 25,000 so far this year,” said David Williams, executive director of Crowe’s Nest Farm.

Williams says 90% of his revenue comes from field trips.

“Is this it?” Williams said when asked about so many schools canceling. “This could be it.”

Some people have stepped up and donated, but without the constant stream of revenue from schools, he is worried.

Williams has partnered with a few private schools and home school groups that come out to the farm, but he is hoping the pandemic will end soon.

“Now we are trying to do more creative fundraising and reaching out to new donors,” Williams said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help through these tough times, but Williams says they will keep fighting to stick around.

“We want to keep the farm going for the children of Central Texas,” Williams said.

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