Duck delivery makes Wednesday bright

Jordyn Walker gets an up-close look at a new ducking delivered to Hope’s Home in Prince Albert on Wednesday. Walker is one of dozens of local children who will help raise ducklings at early learning centres, daycares, and elementary schools before releasing them into the Memorial Gardens Pond when they’re all grown up. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

As of Wednesday, the staff and children at Hope’s Home in Prince Albert will have a few new visitors.

They aren’t adults or children however. Instead, it’s a group of yellow-coated ducklings courtesy of Memorial Gardens.

Children at Hope’s Home are among those in schools across Prince Albert that have helped raise ducklings almost every year for the past decade. Early Learning and Childcare Assistant Manager Janel Boese says it’s always an exciting time for the kids.

“Whenever the ducks are here it’s just pure joy,” she said. “The kids really enjoy the peace of having the ducks here.”

For the children Hope’s Home, raising ducklings is about learning new skills as much as it’s about having fun. There are 76 kids in the home’s early learning program, plus eight more in supportive living.

Every day a group of them will help clean-up after the ducklings in the morning, and a few lucky children will get to take one home for a night or two with their family.

Boese said they’re grateful to have Memorial Gardens helping Hope’s Home children to discover a new interest.

“To be able to partner with them allows us those learning pieces for our children that we really strive for in their holistic development,” Boese explained. “Not only are they learning within that project approach with their interests, it’s also teaching them a great social piece of that empathy skill. They’re raising another being from when they’re babies all the way up until we release them into the pond when they’re able to basically provide for themselves, so it’s a great teaching piece for our children.”

Once the ducklings are grown, children from across Prince Albert will bring them to the Memorial Gardens pond for the annual duck launch later this spring.

Don Cody of Memorial Gardens helps organize the duck launch every year. He said having the ducks make the cemetery less intimidating.

“A lot of people say cemeteries are graveyards, and we’re not. We’re a park-like cemetery that invites people to come and visit their grandparents, their folks, and loved ones (who have passed on). We think the ducks—having them here and going with the children as well—makes a good fit.”

Cody and other Memorial Gardens staff made several stops around Prince Albert on Wednesday to deliver ducks to local children. He said staff members have done a fantastic job of making sure the program succeeds.

“They get all the food prepared. They get all the watering prepared, and all the tubs prepared, so it’s a fun thing as well for us as well as it is for the kids and for the community,” he said.