The North Hollywood High School's Agricultural Center has an impressive array of farm animals that are cared for by students. Living right on the school grounds are goats, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, ducks, a pot belly pig and a donkey named Jenny.
The Los Angeles Unified School District does not fund the animal program, which survives on funds raised by students selling flowers at local farmers markets, donations and by fundraisers like the one on Saturday, where the school opened the Agricultural Center's doors to the public for a petting zoo. The school's Kiwanis Key Club organized the event, and Melissa Leon, the club's vice president, said Key Club member Chris Erazo came up with the idea for a petting zoo as a fundraiser.
The unique agriculture department is one of only five in all of the LAUSD, according to Rose Krieger, the agriculture teacher at North Hollywood High. The program has not been threatened by budget cuts yet, but Saturday's fundraiser was an effort to "nip it in the bud" should the department be threatened, Krieger said.
The students were also trying to raise money to help buy feed for the animals, renovate their old barn, fix a koi pond and other special projects to help upgrade the 5.5 acre Agricultural Center.
Click on the attached video for a tour of the grounds and petting zoo by Leon.