Heritage Elementary uses egg producing chickens in award-winning sustainability project
HIGHLANDS RANCH – Teaching students the importance of sustainability is a big part of the 21st century learning skills being taught at Heritage Elementary. The school is raising chickens to produce eggs for sale and the chickens are also fed by some of the food scraps generated at lunch. This project is part of a larger sustainability program that helped earn the school the Green Flag Award. They are only the 27th school in the nation and 3rd in the Douglas County School District to win this prestigious award.
Heritage Elementary Sustainability & Wellness Coordinator Sue Antonsen said that this project was exciting for the kids on many levels.
“I just love that we don’t have to go on a field trip to a farm, our farm is here, our garden is here and we see how the two things work together and we see that what we don’t eat doesn’t have to go to the landfill. It comes out either to make soil or to feed the chickens.”
She added, “Part of our goal was showing kids that they can live in a sustainable way by producing their own produce in the garden or their own eggs.”
While this was only a part of the overall program, Antonsen said that it gives the students the perfect opportunity to engage in the 4Cs and also gives the kids a big sense of responsibility.
“This biggest lesson for pretty much everyone is responsibility and how to take care of an animal that you wouldn’t have every day at your house,” stated Heritage Elementary student Benicio Archuleta.
Fellow student Victoria Heydman added, “Leadership is also something that I learned. You have to be able to help kids learn and to lead them in their learning.”
And even though raising chickens might not seem on the same educational level of the 21st century model, educators say that sometimes you have to look back to go forward.
“That’s the exciting thing, our eco-code is ‘Looking to the past to sustain our future’ and that’s really what we’re about. We want these kids to see that you don’t have to abandon the past. We look to the past and we learn from that,” concluded Antonsen.