Ella F., Junior
Over the past couple of years, the farm & garden here at school has transformed dramatically. Where there was once an empty lot, there is now a colorful array of plants and crops, and a beautifully painted mural. The garden is not just some pretty scenery: the fruits and vegetables grown are often used in the dining hall. Environment teams and after-school volunteers work to harvest the crops, water the plants, and pick out weeds. The garden serves as a functional crop-producing entity as well as an opportunity for hands on learning for students. Recently, members of the Environmental Interest Group (EIG) have been working on a plan for incorporating animals into the farm and garden ecosystem. Chickens and bees being the main focus, chickens being the current goal.
By the end of the school year, it is likely that there will be chickens living at school. This will not only provide the school with organic, cruelty-free eggs (which also have a higher nutritional value), but also will be a fun and interesting experience for students who decide to spend time with the animals. Chickens also serve as garden pest control; they keep the crop-eating insects from threatening the well-being of the garden. They will help the school cut down on food waste as well, since chickens commonly eat most kitchen scraps in addition to their normal food. Preparations are underway for buying a coop, arranging costs, and deciding on the best time to buy chicks. After these plans are set, and the school approves the budget, four or five chickens will be added to the NWS garden. We will need to have this many chickens because they are social and need to have a community. This will create the need for more people helping out to care for the chickens.
A few students and faculty will volunteer to take care of the chickens and collect eggs for the dining hall, and for donation to food banks, and it will also be needed for some to step up to make sure the animals are cared for during breaks and summer. For this, internships will be available. The care of chickens is fairly easy and well worth it, their contributions to the sustainability and well-being of the NWS farm and community will be very important. Caring for chickens will help to show the importance of humane farming and procuring food humanely. Those who are interested would devote time during the week to feeding chickens and collecting eggs; this would happen during free periods, lunches, breaks, and potentially after school. If you are interested in helping out, contact Director of Environmental Education and Sustainability, Jenny Cooper.