By Kyle Glazier
The Denver Post
Posted: 11/22/2010 01:00:00 AM MST
Students at Denver's Park Hill School are ready to learn some lessons from two clucking, feathered teachers.
Coraline, a Red Star hen and Not-Fiona, a Black Australorp hen, have taken up residence in a newly built chicken coop behind the school.
The presence of the chickens is the result of a collaboration between the University of Colorado's Children, Youth, and Environments Center for Research and Design and the local community.
The Urban Hens program at CU provides the infrastructure and know-how, while the local communities raise the hens. The program's stated goal is to promote the existence of egg-laying chickens in urban environments while educating the community about the food-production cycle.
Park Hill is a pilot for the program, chosen in part because it already features an on-site garden through the Denver Urban Gardens organization, which promotes sustainable gardening in urban settings. Park Hill Principal Tonda Potts said it took about a year for the experiment to come together.
"It was a long process to get a fowl permit," said Potts.
She said that about 32 families would be responsible for taking care of the chickens and that she hoped students would learn about the food cycle, and possibly about composting. They will harvest and eat the eggs, but the chickens themselves are safe. The students have already been involved in coop construction.
On Wednesday, Potts donned a chicken suit and danced to music with dozens of students to celebrate the chickens' presence.
"It's pretty cool," said fifth-grade student David Spritzer, 10, of seeing the coop constructed. "It was just a really cool experience."
"I thought it was weird," said classmate Aivlis Blanco, 10. "Why do we have to do the chicken dance?"
The chicken caretakers are members of the Park Hill Co-op, a group composed of the parents of Park Hill students and local residents. Co-op member Susan Jenkins said that the two chickens are "test chickens," and that six or eight more will arrive, if all goes well with the first two.
Kyle Glazier 303-954-1638 or email@example.com
Read more: Chicken coop brings lessons to Denver school
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