WA makes way for ducklings


Jack Durkin and Lyndsay Duato

Two ducks have been introduced into the science department. Their primary location is in Constance Menice’s biology classroom, room 211, but the ducklings can be spotted hanging out in the Westford Academy science office. The ducks have been named Ming Ming, after the Wonder Pets! character, and Quack Sparrow, after Disney’s hit movie, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Students were able to vote on the names of the ducks.

“I like [the ducks’] names,” freshman Riya Paluri said.

Outside WA, Menice owns seven ducks, three dogs, and a rabbit. The eggs that hatched in her classroom came from her ducks. Out of the five eggs laid, only two of them hatched. Ming Ming hatched on April 29 at 8:30 PM, with the second, Quack Sparrow, on April 30 at 1 PM. 

These are the first ducks in the science department and, if all goes well, the science department is hoping to add more. The ducks will reach full size in a few weeks, and when they outgrow their cage, they will have to be taken to Menice’s house where they will be integrated with her other ducks.

Many students have been fascinated by the ducks and have enjoyed watching them grow up right before their eyes.

“It’s incredible how fast they grow,” freshman Vivian Aeder said.

The ducks relate to the units being taught in Menice’s biology classes, such as the traits of the ducklings and evolution. The ducks link what students are being taught to a real-life example. Student can observe the ducks to get a visual of concepts that were previously only in their textbooks.

“The ducks can link to anything we do in science,” Menice said.

Most of Menice’s classes are biology, and the ducks can be a display of life for the students to observe.

Although they are appealing, the ducks are difficult to care for. The duck’s cage needs to be cleaned once a day, and the water and food has to be refilled. The food can get stuck in the top of the duck’s beak, so they use the water to wash it out. This causes the water to get really dirty; it needs to be changed every few hours.

Students and faculty enjoy stopping by to give a greeting to the new avian companions.

Students have been visiting the ducks early in the morning, forming duck circles.

“They add some cheer and spirit to our daily classroom environment,” freshman and duck circles member Mina Kiefer said.

Although the ducks have been getting a lot of attention, they aren’t the only animals in the science department. The department has an albino corn snake named Cora, and a hamster named Nugget. In years past the science department has had lizards, fish, and rodents. Over the past few years, the department has increased the number of animals. Science Curriculum Coordinator Jenny Kravitz said that a class pet is helpful to the class atmosphere.

Kravitz enjoys having animals in the science department, and she is the owner of Cora the snake. Cora came to the department when a student decided to give up their snake and Kravitz offered to adopt it.