Who We Are

The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, Inc. (FOCS) was established more than 30 years ago to support the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. FOCS is an all-volunteer organization with a Board of Directors composed of members with diverse careers, varied interests, and assorted talents. We all share a deep respect for Sandburg’s history and pride in his family’s home at Connemara.


“To support and promote directly the historical, scientific, literary, educational, and interpretive activities of the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.”

We welcome anyone who wants to be involved in this local treasure.

Many FOCS board members volunteer elsewhere at the park as house docents, barn and goat caretakers, and gardeners. If you have interest in volunteering in one of those areas, please contact the Park Headquarters at 828-693-1478 as these areas are not part of FOCS’ activities.

Our Leadership Team

2024 Board of Directors

Ginger Brown

Elizabeth Christenbury 

Sandra Lyth

Marcia Shaffer

Frank Stewart

Ellen Sugarman

Terri Wallace

John Wilkerson


President, Ellen Sugarman

Vice President, Marcia Shaffer

Secretary, Sandra Lyth

Treasurer, John Wilkerson


Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ranger Trevor Thomas
What We Do

The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, Inc. helps to:

  • PROMOTE education initiatives and free children’s programming, plus enhanced park site visitor services, family friendly special events, as well as unique historical, literary and cultural education programs and traveling resource materials for teachers, students and the visiting public.
  • PROTECT the Park’s unique cultural and literary artifacts, landscapes, and trails for all to access, share and for future generations to enjoy.
  • PRESERVE the beautiful land, buildings, goat herd breeding program, botanical and horticultural assets of the Park for all to enjoy and for future generations.
Friends of Carl Sandburg spending graph
Programming Support

Funds raised each year by The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, Inc. supports free programming for all ages at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Some of our more popular programs include:

  • Carl Sandburg Music Festival
  • Christmas at Connemara
  • Writing or Poetry Workshops (monthly)
  • Fresh Kids
  • Funds to support the goat herd at Connemara Farms
  • Education Intern
  • Volunteer Recognition