Our Sensory Farm’s Barn Build

Hello Farm Friends! My name is Shannon Wells and I am the founder of Our Sensory Farm. Our mission is to make a difference in the lives of children with all abilities by creating a mini farm and adventure forest in Chesapeake, VA. The other day I went out to bring snacks to Piggy and found this note attached to our shed!!! Obviously I was shocked because who uses a typewriter these days anyway?!? The goats usually just text me if they need something! I knew things were a bit rough for our animals, but I didn't know it was this bad.  We moved to our 3 acre property in July, and have tried our best to utilize the existing outbuildings for our new farm animals.  We have always planned to build a barn, we just thought we had more time. After reading the note, I realized that I couldn't wait. So I am reaching out to all of you in hopes that you can help because I cannot do this alone. Setting a deadline of February 1st is a steep goal, I know, but YOU can help to get us there! We invite you to not only join our mission, but we want you to become a part of our amazing farm family. Everyone is welcome at Our Sensory Farm.

Our four goats are all sharing a small converted white shed that is in great need of repair as most of the plywood walls are rotting.  The shed does not have proper stalls or enough space for us to add more goat friends in the future. The only direct access to the larger goats is through a sliding door that is too heavy for most children to open. Our KuneKune Piglet is currently sleeping in a large doghouse in a smaller area as the goats were not willing to share their space with him. He does not have a grazing area, or enough shelter space for us to give him a friend (we would love to add another KuneKune to our farm). Our four guinea hens roam the backyard at night sleeping on our back deck, porch swings, and tables. A proper roost in the top of the barn would give them a warm, safe place to spend the night. Our seven chickens currently have a safe yard; however, the floor in the henhouse is rotted and their coop needs quite a bit of maintenance. We do not have electricity in the outbuildings, so lighting for chores and safety at night is an issue. The food storage is in a separate small shed which makes feeding very challenging when the weather does not cooperate.

We will have families, organizations, and groups of children visiting Our Sensory Farm. Our current situation does not allow for our special visitors to be protected from the elements while accessing our animals. This is a major concern for us, as accessibility for everyone is one of our top priorities. Part of the barn build will include a covered walkway next to a fenced animal area, as well as several spaces inside the barn where visitors can interact with the animals. There will also be a large covered outdoor patio with tables and benches where our guests can spend more time with our furry farm friends. 

Our Grand Opening is January 21-24, 2021! Due to COVID, and our desire to have everyone feel invited and welcome, we decided to host a free virtual farm adventure in which we will host 30 different programs on our new YouTube channel over the course of the four days. The short segments will introduce viewers to our animals, our farm, and some amazing local talent that is supporting our mission. To find out more, visit our FB page or follow us on Instagram. Directions on how to register for this free family friendly event can be found on our Facebook page. We hope that viewers will be inspired to join us mission and donate to this project!

Thank you for your support, kind words, positive energy and generosity. We would not be able to make this happen without you. This is a labor of love and a mission worthy of our time. What better way to make a difference than to change the life of a child in even the smallest way. Everyone is welcome at Our Sensory Farm. Everyone has a gift, a purpose, a talent to share with this world. We will serve as a place to foster creativity, encourage problem solving, and provide opportunities for fun and friendship. We are all in this together, so come grow with us!

Shannon Wells, Founder
Our Sensory Farm

ABOUT US: Our Sensory Farm was founded by Shannon and David Wells. Shannon has worked for over a decade as a special education teacher and provided therapy for children on the Autism Spectrum. David works as a photogrammetrist for a private engineering firm. We moved to our 3-acre home in southern Chesapeake, VA, in July with our two children, Marcus who is 13, and Nathan who is 11. The four of us have been working very hard to create a space that will offer a variety of inclusive outdoor classes, experiences, and tours that promote healthy development. 

ABOUT OUR SENSORY FARM: We have a variety of animals that love to interact with our guests. Currently we have four goats, one pig, four guinea hens and 7 chickens. There are plans to increase capacity as resources allow. Beginning Spring 2021, a variety of gardens will be accessible to our guests. Adaptive design elements will include tabletop gardens, raised planters, vertical gardens, and specialized tools. The beautiful section of natural wooded acreage contains a trail system that can accommodate our guests on foot or on wheels. The trails link our barns, chicken coop, campground, bamboo forest and playground areas. Plans are being developed for self-guided scavenger hunt. Located in the wooded section of the property, our campsite offers a space for family camping, stargazing, sunset bonfires, cookouts and more. We have plans to construct an ADA accessible treehouse adjacent to the campground. Located next to the baby animal area, our covered outdoor classroom is available as a place to snack, rest and learn. Picnic tables and benches are offered throughout the property. Our large grass field is the perfect place for our guests to enjoy the great outdoors. We can accommodate group games, athletic events, concerts and more, all while practicing safety and social distancing. We offer an ADA accessible restroom (porta potty) as well as a sanitizing and handwashing station.

For additional information about us and Our Sensory Farm, please check out and like our Facebook Page and follow us on Instagram!

Our Sensory Farm…a place to grow!

Donations (26)

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  • Virginia Laprairie
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Karen Rosien
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Bev Afifi
    • $150 
    • 3 yrs
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Shannon Wells
Chesapeake, VA

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