“Turkey shoot” raises funds for raising farm animals and raising awareness about the origin of our food

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Ashlynn King, a student at Juneau Douglas High School, poses with Penny, a turkey she raised as part of the school’s IGNITE program. Penny was part of a fundraiser for a photoshoot for the program on November 20, 2021. (Jennifer Pemberton / KTOO)

Over the weekend, students from a vocational and technical program at Juneau Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kale organized a “turkey shooting” fundraiser.

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The set featured a haystack and a lush scenic backdrop with foliage that looked more like Costa Rica than Southeast Alaska. And while waiting for someone to creep up next to her and smile at her, there was a beautiful flightless bird named Penny.

Penny is white with black spots at the end of each feather.

“Like a snowy owl,” said my four-year-old son, who was seeing a turkey for the first time.

Penny is a royal turkey, an ornamental breed, but he’s absolutely correct that her plumage resembles a snowy owl.

Donations for the privilege of posing with Penny go to a program called IGNITE, which introduces students to the vocational and technical programs of secondary school.

“We’re a bit of a strange club. I won’t say we’re underfunded, ”said club member Gabe Hansen, who is a junior in high school. “We spend a lot to feed the birds and the rabbits. “

Hence the fundraising.

Juneau is not known as an agricultural hotbed, but in addition to raising animals, students work on construction projects. They made a goat barn and a swing door for the school library. They also learn to manage money and people.

“You have to bring all the people here to feed the animals when it is their time, otherwise the animals are not fed which is not really good for them,” Hansen said.

“We’re also emphasizing getting girls – women – into this … without the toxic environment of our trades classes,” said Eva Sturm, a senior.

“I have this problem with Southeast Alaska because there is not enough agriculture and the kids are freaked out about the things they eat every day,” said Caplan Anderson , the student advisor. “So it’s exciting to see kids who are ready to snuggle up to a turkey. “

A family of four settled on the haystack. Penny snuggled up with them, looking like a member of the family. Anderson told them it was okay to take off their masks, so you could really see their smiles.

“A big part of what we do is show people animals that they maybe don’t see regularly,” said Ashlynn King. She is Penny’s master and actually raises the turkey at home.

All eyes were on the exotic bird, but at that point, a great blue heron flew overhead.

“More people have seen herons than turkeys,” said Hansen. “It’s wild.”

This is certainly the case with my son, who had seen hundreds of bald eagles at once but had never seen a turkey before.

“I thought the turkey was going to be a turkey you would eat,” he said on the way home. “I thought it would be like meat that had eyes and a mouth.”

So now, besides the game and the salmon, he at least knows where the turkey meat comes from, thanks to Penny and the IGNITE students.


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