Austin the horse has Trafalgar Middle School students to thank for her new barn.
A collaboration between Helena Bryn-McLeod’s Grade 8 class and Cici Life Farm Sanctuary has resulted in a shelter for Austin.
Bryn-McLeod said the idea came about after she spent a day last month volunteering at the sanctuary for abused and neglected farm animals near Winlaw.
“I was thinking, well, this is perfect because my class has just learned about Pythagorean theorem, and we were just learning that angles are squared and at the 90-degree mark and all that, and I said, ‘Why don’t we build it for you?’ Then a flurry of conversations ensued and I just went for it.”
Ernest Smuga, who owns the sanctuary with his wife Patricia, said Austin was rescued last winter after her previous owner died and the horse was going to be destroyed. She spent the year under the family’s deck, which Ernest said was unsustainable.
A GoFundMe page was set up and $1,100 raised to build the barn with the help of Trafalgar teacher Marcello Piro. Smuga also visited the class for a day of prep work.
“They got a lot of hands-on experience both in construction mathematics, hand tools, and following a concept through,” he said. “Also we did a whole day in class where we talked about construction theory, blueprinting and we also talked about animal welfare and the sanctuary.”
Bryn-McLeod said the project was a hit with her students, some of whom handled tools for the first time while others put their math skills to use. Construction took the class about five hours to complete.
“It’s just amazing to watch them cut two-by-fours, put them all together, measure them out, drill them together and then put these walls up.”
Bryn-McLeod said she hopes to take her class on a field trip to see their handiwork at the sanctuary early next year.