Someone apparently stole a flock of urban chickens living on the campus of Isaac Dickson Elementary School in Asheville, according to a school parent who has worked closely with the school and its birds.
Teacher Patti Evans went to check on the chickens early Saturday and discovered coops on the school grounds empty, says Kate Fisher, who has two children at the school on Hill Street. Eight chickens in all, including unofficial school mascots Lily and Winter and two three-month-old chicks that school children watched hatch, were gone. Fisher says the school filed a police report.
“I want people to be on the look-out” for chicken thieves, says Fisher. “If they took ours, the could take anybody’s.”
Chickens living inside Asheville city limits have been in the spotlight recently after a group of residents (Asheville City Chickens) banded together earlier this year to lobby Asheville City Council to ease site restrictions on backyard coops. Several residents came before Council to express the benefits of raising chickens, and City Council loosened rules regarding them.
Isaac Dickson Elementary School is an Asheville City Schools magnet school that focuses on experiential learning. The school has been home to chickens for about three years, according to Fisher. Their coops are built adjacent to a school garden that was also vandalized — plants were found pulled and strewn about at the time the chickens went missing, Fisher says.
School children, parents and school faculty and staff took an active role in raising and caring for the birds, which were also incorporated into the school’s curriculum. For example, a few of the chickens were used as live models for a student art project.
“These chickens belonged to the kids. Three hundreds kids, and their parents and the community were connected to the chickens. It’s a part of who we are as a school,” Fisher says. “We really loved them.”
Despite the loss, Fisher says she’s determined to move ahead.
“We’ll start over and it will be fine.”
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor