A Visit to the Emu Farm
At the arrangement of one of their teachers, over seventy West Carroll First Graders got an up close look at emu farming during a recent field trip to Red Oak Farm, in Trezevant, TN. “We thought it would be a good learning experience for the children,” stated Teresa Norton “but I was really surprised at the effort the Tennessee Emu Association went through to make it enjoyable for the children.” According to Myra Charleston, owner of the farm, the teachers had done a lot of preparatory work themselves. “As we went through the tour, I would ask the children a question and most of the time they already knew the answer!” Teachers had been provided with a list of Safety Rules to read and discuss with the children ahead of time.
Much to their excitement, as the children arrived
they were each “stamped” on the arm (as admission) with emu stamps by Mrs.
Billie Jones and Mrs. Tom McAlexander. The
children were then divided into four groups and visited each section of the tour
First stop on the tour was the photo booth run by Mrs. Sue Jordan and her helper, Mrs. Ruth Hernandez. Remember those cutouts of bathing beauties and muscle bound men where you stick your head through the hole and have your picture made? In this case the body you get has feathers, not a bikini. Miss Sue would ask, “Ever wonder what you would look like with feathers? Well, now you get to find out!” Giggling, the children stepped up onto a stool behind the emu board to have their pictures made. The photos were made using a digital camera. Later in the month these photos were printed off and sent to the school for distribution.
As the children left the photo booth area, they walked back to see the breeder emus with Myra Charleston. During this part of the farm tour the children got to see both the adult emus and handle eggs, a tanned hide, emu claws and even some emu neck bones. “It really tickled me, here is a table with leather, eggs, claws and so forth – and the children were most interested in the neck bones!” laughed Charleston, “but compared to chicken neck bones, these are monsters!”
From the breeders the children went to see the chicks with Jean Autry as their guide. "Myra thinks the kids liked the neck bones best, but I think it was the chicks," laughed Jean. Standing outside the chick runs, she told the children how the daddy emu hatches the chicks, not the momma and answered questions. "I'd like to take one home" said Jacob, "but I don't think I could keep it when it got big." One of the things that guides stressed was the need for high fences and the right kind of food for the emus.
At the art table, volunteers Stephanie Ramey and Roma Roehs taught children how to draw an emu. Since the weather was a bit windy, the children were sent back to school with emu feathers to glue to their pictures or to keep as souvenirs. Below are some of the results.
As they left, they went back to the “admission
table” and picked up their “goody bags” – paper sacks with “I saw the
emu” stickers, brochures on egg art, raising emus and the different products
that come from the birds.
“Everyone had a good time, we’d like to do it again next year” stated Mrs. Norton. West Carroll Primary School is located in McLemoresville, TN.
Good bye til next time!