A Baby Goat at the Ecole

Saturday, 18. January 2014

by Daniel Davis Wood

The Ecole community gained a new member this week when Jane, one of our resident goats, gave birth to a female kid named Shmark. You can see her in the photo to the right, cradled by new student Bathshua.

A herd of about nine goats lives here at the Ecole, on a field next to the campus, as part of the school’s Goat Project. Each year, after coming down from the alp where they spend the summer, the goats give birth to about ten babies which are then raised with the help of Ecole students. The Goat Project also involves students in many other areas: students walk the goats each day, milk them several times a week, and make cheese with the milk they collect.

The Goat Project began five years ago when Sarah Hudspith, a longtime Ecole teacher and a former director of the school, was given a goat as a present after stepping down from the directorship. But because she didn’t know how to take care of it properly, she spent the next three years visiting a local goat farmer to get advice on what to do. Over time, Sarah and the Ecole accumulated many more goats and so, under Sarah’s leadership, the school developed the Goat Project which now occupies as many as forty students in one or another aspect of goat farming.

“I have spoken to many students who say that the Goat Project has taught them so much,” says Hallie Scarbrough, who has been participating in the Goat Project since her arrival at the Ecole last year. “Patience, confidence, independence, accomplishment, and much more — these are all things that we get out of being part of the Goat Project.” With the arrival of Shmark and others like her, the Goat Project is set to continue thriving well into the future of the Ecole.