ODA…this place is a zoo!

ODA…this place is a zoo!

This place is a zoo.

This year, students on the Out of Door campus have seen deer, big snakes, birds, turtles, possums, alligators, and even giant boars. Recently, a dozen baby alligators have hatched at the back of the baseball field in a swampy man-made pond. The maintenance crew has been notified about the new arrivals on campus, and they are on the look out for the 10-foot mother, who is on watch in a nearby lake sewer located in the terrain back there. She reportedly is very protective over her babies.

Freshman, Najee Rhodes, said: “We walked behind the pond, to get a baseball that was hit back there, and saw these little baby gators just jumping around in the water. I’ve never seen anything like it, they were only like five inches long.”

Other animals have been spotted by many teachers and students, at practices and sporting events. There have been reports of deer, running around on the lacrosse practice field located directly behind right field of the baseball diamond.

Junior, Angus Martin said, “We have had to stop practice many times, because we did not won’t to hit any deer with our powerful shots. Lacrosse balls really hurt when they come in contact with something, and we don’t want to endanger this precious species.”

At ODA, students and faculty need to be aware of the wildlife sharing this campus. These animals all seem normal to the wilderness, but when the ODA upper school was founded in 1996, the coexistence of kids and wildlife began to be out or the ordinary.

Construction in the area began in 1922, when the Uihlein family planned to expand their agricultural business and bought the now named, “Lakewood Ranch,” a property encompassing 893 square miles. As more people began to migrate south, the property was sold to the state. Developers began to build communities. The production of houses began in 1994, and that is when companies started to knock down trees and preserve land, in preparation for houses and other facilities.

With the production of houses, schools and living communities growing, builders needed to clear more and more land. At the time, there were all sorts of animals living here. There were alligators in swamps, all kinds of specifies of birds, panthers, coyotes, turtles, snakes, insects, hogs, and of course squirrels.

Throughout the the 18 years that the campus has been active, maintenance, faculty and students have seen variety of animals, but in the past year the most unusual animals were found.

There has also been acknowledgment of the most peculiar sounds on campus. One morning an un-named middle schooler, heard the sounds of a pack of coyotes howling in the woods behind the Commons.

Just recently, Mr. Timmy Orlosky, heard a bald eagle making noises, out by the away dugout of the baseball field. He went over to see what the commotion was and witnessed the eagle swoop down and grab a fully grown white rabbit.

“It was insane, I walked over to the away dugout and saw this huge eagle swoop down and lift this rabbit right off its feet.” Orlosky said, “I felt bad for the rabbit, but it was pretty cool to see that happen in person.”

One morning the maintenance crew was straightening up the school, and witnessed a few boars in the woods, tearing up the terrain making a huge racket.

It was reported that the heard the boars, making “moaning noises and sniffling loudly.” It is a scary sight that these animals are roaming around at school, while we are in class.

While it is hard to wrap our heads around this, while we are in class prepping for college, animals are outside the classroom door wrestling in the woods. Everyone is so caught up in the survival of high school, when right outside that class room door animals are on a mission to survive the wilderness. The truth is, they were here first and we stole their homes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live together.

Sophomore, Joey Coco, said, “I think it’s actually kind of cool, to have these animals roaming around campus. I mean yes, it can be scary to realize that a deer, or wild boar was running around where were play 4-square, but we are the “Out-of-Door Academy, and animals live out doors.”

If anyone sees any peculiar animals roaming the campus, please notify a member of the journalism team. Let’s see how many animals really are roaming around the school!