Situated on a peninsula in Guilford County, North Carolina, Timberlake Earth Sanctuary provides a natural setting of 165 acres filled with wildflower meadows, pine and hardwood forests, fern ravines, creeping cedar glades, ponds and creeks. All who come here are invited to enter into a deeper presence with the beauty, wonder, and intimacy of the natural world.
Purchased in 1967 by Boyd and Carolyn Toben, the land became a source of life for their family of three sons as they cleared fields, put up fences, remodeled the old farmhouse, and learned to care for and respect the earth. “The creatures we came to know,” says Carolyn Toben, “the trees, the creeks, the ponds, and the plants we cared for all became part of the ‘inner tissue’ of our lives.” And over time, Timberlake Farm, as it was called, became a place of deep love of the earth and of honoring the sacred.
During the last thirteen years of his life, Boyd Toben created a trail system with walking paths, bridges, and overlooks. In 1999 after Boyd’s passing, the land was placed into an easement with the Conservation Trust of North Carolina and the name changed to Timberlake Farm Earth Sanctuary. The following year the land became home to the Center for Education, Imagination, and the Natural World, a sacred place where children and teachers learned to “fall in love with the earth.”
Now the Toben family is opening the land to groups and individuals seeking the healing and sustaining presence of the natural world for renewal of body, mind, and spirit.
We take inspiration from the life and work of our dear friend, ecovisionary and author Thomas Berry, who deepened our understanding of the human-earth relationship in this time of crisis in the health of our planet. “We will not save what we do not love,” said Thomas, “and we will not love what we do not regard as sacred. We recover ourselves and the earth as we recover our sense of the sacred.”