Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 8, 2008

You've been flocked: Flamingo fundraiser lands

Watch out! A flock of pink, spindly-legged flamingoes may be headed to your lawn.

West Middle School parents have introduced a flock of 144 of the plastic lawn ornaments to raise money for the school. Local residents can make a donation to have the birds "migrate" to a lawn of a friend or neighbor in town. When the surprised residents wake up to find they've been "flocked," and a group of about a dozen plastic pink flamingoes now reside on their front lawn, they'll be asked to make a donation to have the birds removed. Or they can pay to send them to roost on another lawn in town.

Folks can also pay for "flocking insurance," making a donation to West Middle to ensure the pink birds will never show up on their lawn as part of the money-raising effort. A flier explaining the flocking process will be left with the flamingoes at each house.

"It's all in fun. I think people will be in good humor about it. You don't see a lot of pink flamingoes around here," said Tracy Callahan, Parent Advisory Council vice president, with a laugh. "We were looking to try something different that hadn't been done around here (for a fundraiser), and flocking is popular in other parts of the country. It just looked like a lot of fun. We're excited about it."

Between 10 and 12 flocks of flamingoes will circulate on Andover lawns until May 23, and the PAC hopes to "flock" at least 100 different yards in Andover, said Callahan.

West Middle parents and middle school volunteers, led by "flocking captains," will move the birds from yard to yard — in the secrecy of early morning — every 24 or 48 hours, said Callahan.

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