In 1878, John McFarland went to the "widow's walk" on the roof of his house to survey his 3800-acre ranch in the heart of the Sacramento Valley. He saw nothing in the distance except waves of wheat and perhaps the Miwoks, members of a tribe of local Native Americans, harvesting the grain. He certainly didn't see his ranch filled with hundreds of happy, wide-eyed children who would be visiting on a field trip from their school. He didn't know the pleasure of seeing their smiles as they would choose a pumpkin from the great pumpkin patch or see the look of satisfaction as they completed making a candle from a tub of hot wax or a rope from many longs strands of string.
In 1998, when the Galt Area Historical Society began their project to make possible a living history ranch on the McFarland Ranch, members of the Society had no idea what joy would come from seeing children dressed in costume, reliving pioneer life on a farm at the turn of the twentieth century. We really didn't have a clue how wonderful and rewarding the effort would be.
In 2003, when the McFarland Living History Ranch was opened on a limited basis to over 1000 nearby elementary school children, we began to understand the significance of this historic preservation project. Volunteers who helped during school visitation days were amazed at the pleasure that children found in meaningful learning activities.
In order to keep this project developing, we need the support of foundations and grants programs that have the goal of service to the youth of Northern California, especially those in the Sacramento Valley. If such a program as this meets your criteria, we ask for application material so that we may submit a complete proposal.