Ducklings find new home in Prince Albert schools

Annabell Sayese has made a new friend.

He’s small, yellow, and loud, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I was really excited because they’re really cute and small,” said Sayese, a Grade 5 student at Prince Albert’s École St. Anne School. “I wanted to hold one, and I got to.”

The “they” in this case are a pair of ducklings who arrived at St. Anne’s Wednesday afternoon, courtesy of Prince Albert Memorial Gardens by Arbor Memorial. The school is one of nine across the City who will name and raise a pair of ducks before releasing them into the Memorial Gardens pond on June 9.

Sayese hopes to name one duck Peeper-Peeper after the Easter snack Marshmellow Peeps. Regardless of what name the students choose, Sayese is just happy to have the ducklings around.

“They’re really cute,” she said. “They can be really loud, but I like it when they’re loud, because they sound really cute.”

Wednesday’s delivery marked a long-awaited return for the school duck program. All deliveries were put on hold during COVID due to restrictions and shutdowns. Arbor Memorial branch manager Austin Atchison said they’re glad to be back in the schools, and eager to see the students bring their ducks back to the pond.

“We really like the idea that future generations will come back and they’ll remember this day,” he said. “We’ve had people come back who were kids that had this duck program and have little kids now.

“It’s very exciting to have the duck program back. It’s something that they look forward to every year, especially since they didn’t have it last year.”

At St. Anne, students in Grade 1 and Grade 5 will partner together to take care of the school’s duckling duo. Grade 1 teacher Sarah Corrigal said it’s a great way to teach children how to care for and respect living things.

“It’s great for our students to have some excitement in our school and in our classroom after two years of not being able to do anything,” she said. “They’re excited to play with them and take care of them and hang out with our Grade 5 care partners.”

Taking care of a duckling can be a lot of work for a Grade 1 class, but Corrigal doesn’t think they’ll have a problem looking after them. If anything, she’s the challenge will be getting them to do anything else.

“After I let the grade ones know (about the delivery) yesterday, there was not a lot of focusing on anything else but what time the ducks were coming,” she said with a laugh. “It was an interesting morning and afternoon.”

The 2022 Arbor Memorial Duck Launch is scheduled for Thursday, June 9 from noon to 2 p.m. The event will also include music, hot dogs and cake. Prince Albert Memorial Gardens is located along Hwy No. 2 south of Prince Albert.

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