Sundale School in Tulare County has an agricultural science program that prides itself in teaching its students about the importance of agriculture in their community as well as their daily lives. However, some students were unable to raise animals due to financial restrictions, or because they lived in an urban area that does not allow farm animals. Many of these students were also unfamiliar with 4-H. Sundale School wanted to partner with Elbow Creek 4-H to build chicken coops at Sundale for the students to raise chickens so they can learn about the responsibilities associated with raising animals, what it takes to show a chicken, and the many different ways chickens and 4-H are important to our community
How Did 4-H Help?
An Elbow Creek 4-H representative had several meetings with Sundale’s Agricultural Sciences teacher, Mrs. Penny, and the principal to determine how 4-H could help Sundale reach their goal of building on-site chicken coops. It was determined a chicken expert would best help facilitate this process and we enlisted the help of the owner of a local chicken farm, Sunbird Farms. The materials needed to build the coops were ordered from a local agricultural supply store and Mrs. Penny notified Elbow Creek 4-H once the coops arrived. A date was selected to construct the coops on-site at Sundale and many Elbow Creek 4-H members came to help build the coops. The build day was also the "Sundale Community Clean-Up Day". We picked this date in hopes that we could also involve Sundale families in our project and expose more people to 4-H and our involvement in the community.
Children would learn about the responsibility involved in caring for a living animal, the financial responsibility involved, as well as the many public speaking lessons that come with showing an animal. This project would also be used as an avenue for the older students to mentor the younger students in this project.
For the work, we first cleared and leveled the area where the coops would be placed. Next, we broke up into groups to construct the 4 coops. Last, we arranged the coops in the desired location. As a final touch, a 4-H approved clover was painted onto the coops. There are future plans to select a few students for the project, and for the owner of Sunbird Farms to come teach a class on how to raise chickens.
As you can imagine, the payoff of this project is BIG and the significance is HUGE. Best of all, this is a project that will continue to give back in many ways for years to come. We had about 20 people present to help build the coops, with many Sundale families stopping in throughout the day to help where they could. The students of the school will have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from their peers involved in this project and have the opportunity to be involved in the project themselves! As part of this project the students will be giving presentation to other students and community members about what they have learned through this project. If a student decides not to show the chicken at the local fair, Mrs. Penny has made arrangements for the student to learn the business side of owning an animal. The student will be able to sell the eggs at school and the funds will be re-invested into this project for future generations.