Marie and Molly Heidemann smile as molly pets Penny the turkey on Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé IGNITE Club’s second annual turkey shoot event. The photo shoot raised money to support the club, which hopes to build a small barn at the school. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Marie and Molly Heidemann smile as molly pets Penny the turkey on Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé IGNITE Club’s second annual turkey shoot event. The photo shoot raised money to support the club, which hopes to build a small barn at the school. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Lights, camera, turkey: Club holds annual photo shoot fundraiser

Bird’s the word.

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.

IGNITE Club members Eva Storm, Carson Carrle, Gabe Hansen, Ashlynn King and Trevor Daniels pose with Penny the turkey on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

IGNITE Club members Eva Storm, Carson Carrle, Gabe Hansen, Ashlynn King and Trevor Daniels pose with Penny the turkey on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“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.

Penny the royal palm turkey stands on a bale of straw during a turkey shoot fundraising event. During the event, people could get their photos taken with the turkey. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Penny the royal palm turkey stands on a bale of straw during a turkey shoot fundraising event. During the event, people could get their photos taken with the turkey. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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.”

Elizabeth, 7, and Corbin, 2, Germain-Toupin sit with Penny the turkey during a turkey photo shoot fundraiser on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Elizabeth, 7, and Corbin, 2, Germain-Toupin sit with Penny the turkey during a turkey photo shoot fundraiser on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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.

Math teacher and IGNITE Club adviser Caplan Anderson gives a masked smooch to “spokesturkey” Brenda. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Math teacher and IGNITE Club adviser Caplan Anderson gives a masked smooch to “spokesturkey” Brenda. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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.

Marie and Molly Heidemann smile as molly pets Penny the turkey on Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé IGNITE Club’s second annual turkey shoot event. The photo shoot raised money to support the club, which hopes to build a small barn at the school. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Marie and Molly Heidemann smile as molly pets Penny the turkey on Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé IGNITE Club’s second annual turkey shoot event. The photo shoot raised money to support the club, which hopes to build a small barn at the school. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“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.”

Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

Penny the turkey looks toward the camera during Saturday’s turkey shoot fundraiser. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Penny the turkey looks toward the camera during Saturday’s turkey shoot fundraiser. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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