Staff Spotlight: Ross Heutmaker

May 23rd, 2022 Staff Spotlights

We can all agree that our sheep and goats are an integral part of our park, but their joyful presence wouldn’t be possible without our Farmstead Manager, Ross Heutmaker. His duties include managing a crew of volunteers, land management at the farmstead, assisting Anna Davis-Agostini—our Historical Horticulturist—with garden maintenance, assisting with the operation and upkeep of the park’s Grist Mill, and of course, overseeing the care of our animals.   

While Ross didn’t specifically prepare to become a sheep farmer, he fits perfectly into this important role at the park. He is a graduate of The College of New Jersey where he studied philosophy and environmental ethics and took courses in photography, biology, and botany. A lover of history, animals, gardening, and nature, he found his place here at Washington Crossing Park in 2016. Ross also enjoys biking, hiking, and playing hockey in his free time. 

When asked what he loves most about his role, Ross said, I love animals; they bring a smile to me each day. They are a great tool to help teach the public about what life was like during our historical period. I can see the animals are a big joy to the visitors, and I like that I can provide that for the park.”   

I also get the chance to help with the renovation and construction of some facilities,” he continues. I found creating physical structures like our new trellis and garden shed to be very fulfilling; the opportunity to leave a positive impact on the landscape.”  

Aside from all this, Ross shares there’s one more thing that gets him up in the morning. ”The Farmstead is just a beautiful place to be, and makes me enjoy going to work every day.”