DERRY — It’s not often cows are part of a high school curriculum, but at Pinkerton Academy, livestock has often roamed the property through the years.
A most recent visit included a long-haired breed from the Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, coming to Derry as part of the school’s animal science studies.
Pinkerton’s animal science program is housed in one of two new Career and Technical Education facilities that opened last fall.
Under the guidance of teacher Katrina Hartlen-Mooers, students are learning about animal health and basic care. Until this point, it’s been mostly dogs, lizards, snakes and other small animals on the curriculum list.
Learning about livestock now made the list of study topics.
Having the larger animal visit was a treat.
Blue stood in a nearby grassy area near the classroom as students gathered around to hear all about his life on the farm.
Miles Smith Farm has about 60 head of cattle. Blue, 2, will grow up to weigh about 1,000 pounds and may eventually be a riding cow, his owners told students.
That means he will get some specific training on the skills and behavior needed to deal with people.
Students had the opportunity to get close to Blue and brush his long hair.
Hartlen-Mooers has her own miniature zoo at home — a horse, a goat, several dogs, a cat and some fish.
She said no large animals have come to school since the new classroom space opened.
“But we’ve had large animals in the past,” she said.
She hopes to someday bring her own horse or goat to school to teach students more about caring for large animals.
Students learn a good work ethic, along with skills to take their animal education further if they choose.
Hartlen-Mooers has taught at Pinkerton for 13 years and had a hand in helping design the new space.