A moose paid an unexpected visit to the G.W. Smith Schoolyard in Red Deer on Tuesday morning, so staff were out running interference to ensure student safety. (Contributed photo)

A moose paid an unexpected visit to the G.W. Smith Schoolyard in Red Deer on Tuesday morning, so staff were out running interference to ensure student safety. (Contributed photo)

Moose visits a Red Deer school yard on Tuesday

It was an exciting start to the students’ day, says principal

Children and parents arriving at G.W. Smith School in Sunnybrook on Tuesday morning were greeted by a large moose on their playground.

Principal Jason Moline was among several staff members who managed to successfully keep the lumbering animal from getting too close to the kids — and vice versa.

The Red Deer school, located close to the Piper Creek trails, has been frequented by deer and moose before. “Sometimes we see their impressions in the snow,” said Moline, but these forest animals are usually around overnight.

Students don’t usually get a live wildlife display first thing in the morning: Many youngsters at G.W. Smith School were awe-struck to see a moose on their playground. “It was a very exciting start to their day,” said Moline.

The large animal without antlers was first spotted by school staff at about 8:30 a.m. meandering on the east side of the schoolyard. Moline immediately sent out texts, informing parents of wildlife in the area so they could be cautious when dropping kids off.

“It was close to the time when students would be arriving and we wanted to ensure the students were safe,” he explained. Moline also stood outside the school to watch out for students who might be walking to class.

The moose sauntered across to the west side of the school grounds and was seen nestled down on a residential lawn on Scott Street at about 9 a.m. But it must have been a short rest.

Moline said the moose soon disappeared. He later drove around the neighbourhood, including alleyways near the school, and saw no more signs of the large animal, which had likely returned to the forested trails.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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Red Deer Public School