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‘Farmer Terry’ helps to make Harvest Fest a great celebration
Photos and Story by Janis Nichols
When asked what he likes best about his job, he says he doesn’t have a boss who sets his schedule, which allows him to, “Do what needs doing.”
When you’re Terry Lookabill, PCC’s farm coordinator and Veterinary Technology Program support staff at the Rock Creek Campus, there’s a lot that needs doing. Before he came to Rock Creek, Lookabill was a locksmith at the Sylvania Campus from 1991-94. Replacing locks and lost keys pales to his current responsibilities that include: animal husbandry; machine maintenance; kennel management; Learning Garden support; assisting with the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals Program; and helping with the annual Harvest Festival. This year’s festival will mark his 20th year on the campus.
This year’s Harvest Festival is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Rock Creek Campus. The event is free and open to the public. It offers pumpkin pulling, face painting, hayrides, music, a petting zoo, Learning Garden tours and more. Face painting, pumpkin decorating, and children’s art and crafts will be held in Building 3. The event is sponsored by Rock Creek’s ASPCC office.
“The students do a great job of organizing this event, but you can’t predict the weather,” Lookabill said. “When it rains, 50 or 60 people will come out. When the sun shines, we can welcome more than 1,000 people.”
Having the annual Harvest Festival at Rock Creek speaks to the natural amenities of the place, he said. Before it opened as a campus in 1976, it was a 260-acre farm with 44 acres of woodlands, 11 acres of wetlands and 44 acres of grassland. Much of the openness of the property has been protected. The land supports on average 30 sheep, 15 cows, five alpacas, one goat, one lama and one horse. The animals play a significant role in the college’s Veterinarian Technology Program and they keep Lookabill busy around the clock. Some of the animals will be available at the petting zoo during the festival.
“And then there’s the pumpkin thing,” Lookabill added about the cornerstone of the event. “The first year we had crop failure and didn’t harvest a single pumpkin. We called on a local farmer to help us out and we picked up about 500 pumpkins to place in the pumpkin patch. We didn’t want to disappoint the kids and they never thought to ask why the pumpkins weren’t attached to the vines.”
Before Lookabill was a farmer and before he was a locksmith, he worked for 15 years in a Newberg paper mill. These significant career changes qualify him as an expert in risk taking and second chances. It’s one of the reasons he appreciates PCC.
“The college provides opportunities for people to have a shot at a career,” he said. “For many people, PCC is their only shot at something better.”
“Farmer Terry,” as he is known around the campus, plans to retire in about four years and his current plan is simple: “I have a 37-foot motor home and I plan to point it down the road.”
He said no pumpkins will be involved with that plan.