It might be a key that can’t open a door, but a turkey could help open up new possibilities for a high school club.
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s IGNITE Club, a Future Farmers of America-like organization that’s a feeder club for the career and technical education program, held a turkey shoot fundraiser on Saturday. During the event, people were able to shoot photos with a turkey and donate to the club.
Proceeds from the second annual event will go toward supporting the club, which hopes to build a barn near a parking structure at the high school, said Caplan Anderson, adviser for the club and a math teacher. Club member Gabe Hansen added that rearing a goose is a club aspiration, too.
“We’re taking donations, but this is more a chance for the kids to show off their turkey,” Anderson said.
He said the outdoor photo shoot idea came about last year as a pandemic-cautious way for the club to show off its work in light of the cancellation of usual club events.
This year’s turkey, Penny, is an 8-month-old royal palm turkey. Royal palm turkeys are a black-and-white heritage breed that first appeared on a Lake Worth, Florida, farm in the 1920s, according to The Livestock Conservancy.
The royal palm isn’t as commercially viable as other types of turkeys, according to The Livestock Conservancy, but it is used for at-home meat production and pest control.
Club members said Penny is an exceptionally friendly turkey.
“We got her from a friend who was moving,” said club member Ashlynn King. “She was super friendly, and we socialized her a bit more. Now, she’s like the friendliest turkey we’ve ever had.”
However, like last year’s friendly fowl, Tom, Penny’s final companions will be Thanksgiving sides. Brenda, who club members referred to as a “spokesturkey,” and will not be eaten also made an appearance.
While some children showed a reluctance to get close to the vocal but harmless turkey those who did brave the bird — and a sub-freezing, windy afternoon — had good things to say.
“It was fun,” said 8-year-old Molly Heidemann, who also attended last year’s turkey shoot.
Heidemann allowed Penny to sit on her lap while taking photos.
“I think it’s a lot more pretty than last year,” Heidemann said. “I’ve never seen a turkey that’s white and black. I’m not really happy it’s going to be eaten because it’s so pretty.”