Ang and St. Sauveur take on Good Pickin’ Farms for senior capstone

Senior+Nikita+Ang+takes+care+of+the+bunnies+and+the+alpacas+at+Westfords+Good+Pickin+Farm+during+a+typical+day+during+her+senior+capstone.

Sophia Keang

Senior Nikita Ang takes care of the bunnies and the alpacas at Westford’s Good Pickin’ Farm during a typical day during her senior capstone.

Sophia Keang, Editor-in-Chief

Growing your own garden is a difficult task for anyone, let alone managing a whole farm. The responsibility of making sure animals are properly fed, maintaining healthy crops, and collecting food or animal products take time, patience, and interpersonal skills, which for many farmers, takes years of practice. However, many fail to recognize the true connections one makes with nature and the simplicity of life through working on a farm.

Seniors Nikita Ang and Alexandra St. Sauveur are using the opportunity for their capstone project as an opportunity to volunteer at Westford’s Good Pickin’ Farm alongside fellow classmates Riana Kelley, Andy Lamprey and Conor Moncreaff. The farm consists of anything nature-related one can imagine such as crop production, horse riding lessons, homesteading workshops, and even goat yoga.

“The main idea behind the establishment of the farm was sustainability in Westford. Essentially, the owners of the farm wanted a place for people to heal through nature and it was a perfect place for that,” Ang said.

Ang and St. Sauveur had ultimately been inspired by different interests in their lives to dedicate their capstone to working at a farm. Ang’s passion for nature and medicine gravitated her towards finding a place where she was able to help the environment at a local level.

“I truly just admire nature,” Ang said. “I think it’s so fascinating how there are so many different animals and species of that animal in the world. People take for granted that there are just squirrels running around in their backyard and I think nature just brings out the best in people in many different ways.”

Similarly, St. Sauveur admires the simplicity of nature. She wanted to be able to immerse herself into an environment after years of non-stop studying, and this capstone serves as a reward.

“I am personally someone who loves to work with animals and spend extended periods of time outside, so I thought this would be the perfect fit for me,” St. Sauveur said.

On a typical day, Ang, Kelley, Lamprey, Moncreaff and St. Sauveur are assigned different tasks to complete around the farm. As some work to feed the chickens, others learn how to properly care for the alpacas and cows. However, at times, the five students will collaborate on one assignment, creating a synergetic environment.

“Even when there’s bad weather one day, somehow the tasks continue to be exciting because we adapt. It’s a very free way of living and operating which I think is what makes this experience so unique,” Ang said.

Depending on the day, the group goes onto the farm either before or after class. Then, they’ll put on their gloves and start feeding the chicks, collecting eggs, or nurture the bunnies.

 

Additionally, the farm holds a child daycare and a Schoolhouse Education Program for ages 6-12. Throughout their shifts, the seniors interact with the kids, seeing them play on the fields and even perform some tasks the seniors don’t even know how to do.

“Despite the fact that they are elementary students, we [seniors] still learn a lot from them,” Ang said. “One time, I didn’t know how to use a specific piece of equipment and one of the second graders came and helped me out. It’s really inspiring.”

While each student has a passion for nature, this is a unique experience for them all. Many of the seniors also hope to simply step outside of their comfort zones and learn new ways of problem solving in a real world setting.

“From this experience, I am hoping to take away new experiences and skills that I can apply in my life beyond high school and even college,” St. Sauveur said. “These skills go beyond the classroom or your typical learning environment and that can help me become the best version of myself as I step into adulthood.”

The most exciting and memorable connections in life often happen with some of the most unexpected people. While not all the seniors had close relations to one another before the capstone, this experience will never be forgotten.

“My favorite part about working on the farm is definitely working alongside the other Westford Academy seniors,” St. Sauveur said. “While many of the tasks we are given are physically laboring, having others cheer me on and help me through the process is really what makes the experience so great.”

As Ang, Kelley, Lamprey, Moncreaff and St. Sauveur finish up their final weeks at WA, they are beginning the newest chapter of their lives.

As of right now, Ang will be attending the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences through a six-year accelerated physicians assistant program and St. Sauveur plans to pursue higher education in college as a Japanese major. Kelley, Lamprey and Moncreaff have not yet shared their plans for their lives after graduation, but will take along the skills and memories they have made from Good Pickin’ Farm and WA.