HAINES, Alaska (KTUU) - Students of the Haines Borough School District were in luck, when a vehicle likely struck a local moose on the road, Tuesday evening.
"We don't know what vehicle hit the moose, because it was already gone from the scene," said Principal Rene Martin. She then explained that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were forced to euthanize the animal.
However, the moose's misfortune created a learning opportunity for the students, when the approximate 300 pound carcass was donated to the school lunch program.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, ADF&G contacted HBSD's food service coordinator, Brandie Stickler, in order to let her know it was the school district's turn on the local roadkill sign up list.
From there, Stickler and her husband – both longtime community members and hunters – immediately gutted, skinned and quartered the moose that evening, said Martin. In addition, the couple bagged and hung the carcass in a cool environment, before it was brought into school, on Wednesday. According to Martin, Stickler still needed help processing all the moose meat.
"She came into my office saying, 'Rene, we have a moose! We have a moose!'" said Martin.
This is when the students of Mrs. Boron's American Government class "sprung into action," according to the Haines Glacier Bears' Facebook post.
Under the direct supervision of Stickler and the HBSD food service staff, about 20 students – mostly juniors and seniors – assisted with processing and deboning the carcass.
Prior to processing the moose, Martin said the varying experience levels of the students were "a mixed bag." A few of the students were avid hunters, some had family members who hunt, and others had zero experience, she said.
Coincidentally, Martin said the school was celebrating Spirit Week, when the moose carcass was donated. Wednesday just so happened to be Camo Day.
Martin said she expects the meat to last several meals, especially since a portion of it was frozen.
"We love having local items," said Martin. "We try to home cook as much as we can, within federal guidelines."
She said school meals made with the moose meat include: moose stew, moose tacos, moose burgers and moose spaghetti sauce.
After the students finished processing the moose, Haines Glacier Bears said the bones were donated to the American Bald Eagle Association, in an attempt to minimize waste.
"One of the great things about small Alaskan Schools is that sometimes we can drop everything when an opportunity arises," claimed the Haines Glacier Bears.