As Learning 4 Life Farm grows, autistic students are already thriving

JOHNSTOWN — The alpacas are coming! The alpacas are coming!

Located in The Learning Spectrum (TLS) North East education center near Johnstown, the Learning 4 Life Farm is under steady construction after two years to full completion. And getting the therapy animals in January means the seven-acre facility, also with gardens, is one step closer to providing job training for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum.

“The alpacas are easier to care for, and they are good for therapeutic training and therapy,” said Amy Hurst, operational director of Learning 4 Life Farm, at last year’s barn rearing event. “The kids really like the animals and they’ve taken trips to nearby alpaca farms.”

“Once we have the alpacas, we want to bring in students from other local school districts,” Hurst said last week at a summer open house that kept the community updated on progress. “We just got an EQUIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) grant from USDA for the well, pollinator habitat strip, manure composting facility, and shed driveway.”

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