Conservation Through Education
The Creature Conservancy is a non-profit organization located in Ann Arbor that is dedicated to rescuing abandoned and non-releaseable wildlife. At their facility they provide aid for animals like kangaroos and macaws that are not native to the region, but may have been purchased as pets and abandoned due to lack of knowledge about how to care for them. So, the staff rehabilitate, socialize, and use them to educate the community. The people at the conservancy were kind enough to pay the students of Camp Learn-A-Lot a visit this week, and give them an up close look at some beautiful and rare animals. The campers were introduced to a unique albino alligator, Spike the Scarlet macaw, Mango the Burmese python, Viola the giant Virginia opossum, and Poco the sloth.
Some were overjoyed to see such amazing creatures so close, while others, including the adults, were simply terrified (especially by the python). During the show, the care-takers displayed the animals, shared interesting facts and insights about each, and answered student questions. For example, did you know that opossums are marsupials, not rodents, and are in fact the only marsupials in North America, or that the macaw has the intelligence of the average 3-4 year old? Pretty amazing, right? The crowd was engrossed in the presentation and shocked and awed by the crazy cool creatures. The staff said that our campers were so quiet and cooperative that they deserved a bonus, and were able to pet a baby Boa constrictor and an armadillo. Overall, the students had an amazing time and learned a lot of good information relevant to our topic these next few weeks: animal and plant structures. Hopefully, the presentation and information inspired a few future conservationists!
All in a Day's Work
As we begin the fourth week of camp, focus in the classroom has shifted from sight words to math facts, but science remains a major topic of everyday discussion. Work continues to be done, especially using the new card/board games, on the math skills critical for success. Games like "Splat!" and "I sea 10!" help the staff to review addition, subtraction, etc. with the students in a way that is fun and entertaining. For example, in "Splat!," someone holds up a number, and if you have a mathematical expression that would equal that number, you yell "Splat!" and turn your card over. As for our topic of biology, students this week have been studying the growth and reproduction systems of plants and animals, food chains/webs, and the social behavior of animals that live in packs or herds. All is well, and progressing smoothly, this week at Camp Learn-A-Lot!