Date: Thursday, May 28, 2009
AREA STUDENTS HATCH PHEASANT CHICKS
There were kids everywhere! Each and every one was excited to visit the St. Marys’ Middle School Outdoor Club classroom on May 28, 2009. Over 100 students were there to learn how other classes succeeding in hatching their pheasant chicks from eggs. Craig Barr from the Fox Township Sportsmen Club is the volunteer coordinator of the event that included 7 area schools; Fox Township, St. Mary’s Middle School, South St. Marys School, Queen of the World, St. Marys Catholic Middle School, St. Boniface, and Ridgway Middle School. Wayne Fordosti, the retiring science teacher of the St. Marys Middle School was the host of the event and enjoyed showing the kids the hard work of his 7 year old Outdoor Club. What started as a project to study hatching fish has grown in to a small tree farm, greenhouse, hatching chicks and even studying solar and wind power. Mr. Fordosti hopes to continue as a volunteer at the school for year to come but will leave big shoes to fill.
The inter-school context was to encourage the students to not only produce a good pheasant hatch rate but also research the birds they were raising.
The Fox Township teachers did an amazing job incorporating the project into reading, writing, math and science classes. Teacher Patricia Hamblin uses the A B C D method to teach science in her classroom. Accurate – Big – Colorful and Detail. The students took on a mentoring role when they shared some of what they learned from the project with the younger kids at the school who came to visit the chicks when they hatched. This class even researched recipes for cooking the harvested birds. For their extra effort, Craig Barr rewarded them with an ice cream cake.
South St. Mary's Erin Hanslovan’s class made a colorful, large paper quilt detail many pheasant facts.
Dorian Tamburlin, a 4th grader from Fox Township took turns turning the eggs during the incubation period. ‘The hatching was the coolest!’ She first saw a wild male pheasant when she was in first grade on a walk with her grandmother who then took her home and showed her a picture in a book.
Patrick Schlimm is from the South St. Marys School. He helped look up a fact a day on pheasants with his classmates, mostly using the internet.
While the emphasis was on more then counting the birds that hatched, the hypothesis is that the eggs that were turned by hand had a better hatch rate then those that used an automatic turner. Maybe the eggs just received more attention. Of the 200 eggs distributed to the schools, 88 were fertile and viable, 52 hatched with 31 chicks making it to the pens where they will spend the summer.
All of the kids were made aware that the hatched chicks will be raised by Craig Barr and Randy Gradizzi of the Fox Township Sportsmen Club. The chicks can fly in about 15 days. Pheasants reach maturity in 12 weeks with an average weight of 2 pounds. These birds will be added with the 700 other pheasants used to stock the Youth Hunting area nearby this fall. Kids 12-16 years old use this site with an adult for bird hunting. All birds harvested over the fall season should be used and not wasted. This will bring the story of the birds in a full circle.