when Kate Houghton Tweedy And Dr. Charles Tweedie They were honored Tuesday night for their founding of Bowes Farm 45 years ago and their efforts to save it in the past few years, a celebration that went far beyond the proclamation voted on by the Mount Laurel Town Council.
What many feared was the death of the animal educational center on the preserved, town-owned Green Acres property has now turned into a bright future for the facility, which for decades has been a destination for countless school field trips, birthday parties and family outings.
Council members on Tuesday also unanimously adopted an ordinance at the meeting that places Bowes Farm in the hands of Rowan University’s new Schreiber College of Veterinary Medicine to operate it to educate veterinary students and “ensure the long-term sustainability and availability of the site.” “to the public.”
Under the law, Rowan will lease the property to encourage “kindergarten through high school students to visit and enjoy the facility, and learn about veterinary services with the goal of inspiring the future generation of veterinary students.”
“We are very honored that (Paws) is now in the hands of such a dedicated and outstanding group,” said Kate Tweedie. “We are grateful that, under the leadership of Rowan University’s Schreiber College of Veterinary Medicine, it will have educators, students and animals at the forefront of its future.”
The Tweedys began their involvement with the former Darnell Homestead on Hainesport Mount Laurel Road in 1979, rolling up their sleeves with a phalanx of volunteers to rehabilitate the old farmhouse into a popular nature center.
For the next 25 years, the Tweedys oversaw and helped fund efforts that increased the site’s character and animal education opportunities. They provided medical care to hundreds of animals and ensured that the site’s farmhouse, blacksmith’s work area, smoke house and ice house resembled similar structures from previous centuries.
When Paws Farm’s lease on the site expired in 2004, its operations were turned over to the former Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, and the Tweedys retired.
In 2020, when they learned the site had closed, fallen into disrepair and 147,000 people had signed an online petition seeking the site to be reopened, the Tweedys oversaw and helped pay for a second restoration effort.
“We said, ‘We can handle this. We can do this. We did it in 1979,'” Kate told 70and73.com in an interview.
This time, repairs and upgrades included removing old tires from the site, repairing several enclosures, installing new electrical fixtures and lines, replacing several leaking roofs, installing air conditioning, and giving the site buildings a fresh coat of paint. Mount Laurel Township staff also assisted in several ways, including regularly patrolling the site and mowing the lawn.
For Kate, the reason behind her and Dr. Tweedy’s efforts was simple: we loved animals.
Mayor of Mount Laurel Stephen Stiglick He said recognition of the accomplishments of the couple, longtime residents of Moorestown where Dr. Tweedy practiced medicine, was overdue. The Tweedys now live in Medford.
“It’s been a long time coming for their dedication to Paws Farm, not just for working hard and starting it and maintaining it and maintaining it. But (also) when it closed,” he said in an interview. “They really came to the rescue and worked alongside the town to find a long-term solution.”
Although the Tweedy family seemed emotionally affected by the honor, they focused on their gratitude to the many people who have helped them over the years.
“Thank you so much,” Kate said. “Thank you to all our board members, volunteers and teachers…we are so grateful to all of you.”
The Tweedys’ legacy is now expected to have a long future with Rowan Veterinary School.
“The general idea is to expand on all the great things Paws has done for many years and then update some of those programs to include more emphasis on science and veterinary experiences for youth in the area,” he said. Dr. Matthew C. EdsonThe founding dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine told 70and73.com.
The specific programs and ways the buildings at Paws Farm will bring those programs to life are still in the development stage, but may include camps or field trips for those in kindergarten through 12th grade, Edson said. The vet is no stranger to Mount Laurel: He lives in Burlington County and for years ran Rancocas Veterinary Associates, a small- and large-animal veterinary firm based on Marne Highway, a two-mile drive from Bowes.
PAWS will join other new veterinary school facilities, including laboratories and a small animal hospital planned for Rowan’s West Campus in Glassboro.
A name has not been decided for Paws, but Edson said it would certainly nod to the location’s roots. The veterinary school wants to “preserve all the important history there and incorporate as much of it as possible,” he said.
Recalling his time at Bowes Farm as a young man, Edson said those visits were part of the “collective experience” that led him to become a veterinarian.
“This place has a very long history, and it’s really loved by everyone who was there as a kid,” he said. “The facility itself is designed for the purpose we are looking to achieve, which is animal-based education.”
Mount Mayor Laurel Steglic told 70and73.com he hopes the ordinance will be the beginning of a long-term relationship between the town and the school.
“This is a win for our community,” the mayor said.