(Note to reader: In the print edition of the paper, the caption for the sheep picture should have said that Rambo the ram, left, surveys two of the ewes he impregnated.)
LONDON GROVE -- The staff and students at the Avon Grove Charter School are looking forward to an exciting month of births in May -- three of them, in fact, or maybe four.
The three resident female Shetland sheep are all pregnant and expected to have their lambs in about three weeks.
“The kids have been following this closely. It looks like we should see babies on or about the 15th of May,” Head of School Kevin Brady said this week.
The school has had a traditionally environmental curriculum that includes raising fish, building animal habitat and raising plants, but this is the first year for the four sheep and two goats.
Brady said he knows all three females -- Nuala, Lollipop and Aiofe -- are all pregnant, fathered by the resident ram, Rambo. But there might be a surprise. “With the first birth you usually see singles, but we think one, Nuala, will have twins because she is very big,” he said.
The school has a veterinarian on call in case there are problems with the birth, and the barnis monitored with cameras, but Brady said that breed of sheep -- Shetlands -- are quite hardy and accustomed to roughing it in the wild without human help.
After the lambs are born, the students and staff hope to halter train them to walk along side humans with a leash.
Already they have sheared the sheep and are using the wool for projects like creating wool for knitting.
In addition to the sheep, the charter school has two goats that are mischievous and funny. “When the kids are out there, they’ll reach in thei pockets to see what’s there,” Brady said.
This Saturday, April 26, visitors will be able to see the pregnant sheep and pat the goats at the Avon Grove Charter School Green Gathering from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is an annual event that showcases the school’s nature projects, and it has been growing each year.
There will be things to do all over the campus, including watch the ducks and rabbits, eat refreshments, survey the products from a farmers’ market and observe the invention made by several eighth graders to keep water from freezing outdoors in cold weather. Also on display is the hydroponic project that has tilapia fish providing the nutrients to grow edible plants as well as a giant aquarium room inside.
A birding expert will be on hand all day to take visitors on bird walks and answer questions about birds.
Ever since the school opened in 2002, there has been an emphasis on the arts, conservation and environmental education. Among other things the students have participated in are raising trout in the classrooms and liberated them into the White Clay Creek.
Last year the school added a new STEM building designed primarily for science and environmental education.
The Avon Grove Charter School is on State Road in the old Avon Grove Elementary School. the Green Gathering will take place rain or chine.