The Fort Worth Country Day campus is home to two new baby ducklings thanks to Emily Samuelson ’10 and Lower School Science Teacher Barbara Meyers.
Samuelson found mallard eggs at her parents’ home in Westover. She watched the parents for a couple of days as they cared for the eggs. Then they disappeared. “Emily was worried about the abandoned eggs,” Meyers said. “She called me, her egg-hatching Science Teacher, and asked what she should do. We agreed to wait one more day to see if the parents would come back.”
Sadly, the parents did not return to the nest. So early on April 5, Emily carefully packed up the eggs and brought them to her alma mater. Meyers powered up her incubator and in 30 minutes the mallard eggs were safe and warm.
“One of my fondest memories of kindergarten at FWCD was hatching eggs in Mrs. Meyers’ class,” Samuelson said. “So I thought to myself: who better than Mrs. Meyers to help me hatch these duck eggs?”
“Emily and I realistically discussed the possibility of the eggs not being viable, but Emily was very positive and hopeful,” Meyers said. “She did research on the Internet on all aspects of hatching ducklings.”
Meyers told Samuelson she would “candle the eggs” after seven days to look for any signs of development. “Low and behold, there was the embryo and vein structure on that seventh day,” she said. “Emily was so excited! I reminded her that we needed to check again on the 14th day to ensure the embryo was still growing. When I checked on day 14, the dark shadow and air space were visible.”
While Meyers remained cautious, Samuelson was beyond excited. She asked Meyers to call her the minute the ducks started to hatch.
May 2 started as a normal day for Meyers, who got to her classroom and began preparing for her first class. “One of my students that hangs out in my room before school yelled ‘the ducks hatched,’” Meyers said. “I really was surprised. I had prepared myself to tell Emily that eggs found in the wild are just too hard to hatch, too many variables. Emily’s faith in these ducklings was unwavering.”
Meyers emailed Samuelson at work and told her she was a “duck mom.” Samuelson was in Meyers’ room by lunchtime having her photo taken. “Those photos are so special,” Meyers said.
The ducks are currently in the care of Heather Tatom in Plant Ops. Samuelson has asked that the ducks be released at the pond when they are strong enough to fend off the large turtles and hungry bass. Both Meyers and Samuelson are hopeful that one might be named Emily, after the caring young woman who saved them.
“It was so special for me to not only be able to save the lives of these abandoned ducklings, but also to share this experience with my former kindergarten teacher and the Country Day community,” Samuelson said.