Our Mission –
Offer experiential learning in a non-competitive, inter-generational environment that creates the opportunity for community to happen within the natural splendor of the Avon Hills.
Our Vision –
We fulfill our mission by creating and nurturing an environment that allows people to discover, learn, and create. We will do this by providing a venue for local, regional artists and craftspeople to share and teach their craft with others.
Location, history and influences
64 acres located within the glacial till of the Avon Hills Conservation District. This 64 acres has, within its boundaries: a fast running, rocky stream, variegated landscape with rolling hills of open prairie, wetlands, a hanging bog, and natural springs with significant stands of hardwoods.
Purchased by Francis and Karen Schellinger in 1969, the family has actively embraced the land through: sugaring (Maple Syrup), bee keeping, vegetable and flower gardening, selective logging, hunting, gathering, and small scale animal husbandry to include: horses, cattle, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, etc.
Having been spurned by early settlers because of its unsuitable farming prospects, the Avon Hills have recently become sought after for its natural beauty (see documentary If a Road Runs Through It). During the early years the Avon Hills were destinations for those farmers late to the region, wood cutters, and moon shine operations. As recent residents arrived or visited they often found their way to the home of Francis and Karen Schellinger to simply visit, solicit advice or to borrow this or that in order to complete a project on their newly acquired property.
A much anticipated event at the Schellinger property was the annual Bouja Party at which friends and neighbors, near and far would gather each year on the First Sunday in October. This became as much as anything an example of Francis and Karen’s unconscious and innate ability to bring people of all backgrounds together “in community”.
Through many years of welcoming visitors, Francis and Karen practiced, un-intentionally, the tenants of the folk school. And through meeting these two many people came away with a new-found confidence that they too could do what Francis and Karen had done.
It is this beautiful and valued practice of building community through hands-on help and hospitality that we seek to continue through the Avon Hills Folk School.