Animals on parade

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dan Summers, school education curator at the Virginia Living Museum, allows Jessica Allen’s fifth grade class to pet a groundhog. Summers visited the Elephant’s Fork Elementary students Tuesday with a snake, a groundhog, a turtle and an owl. Summers and the animals visited the class after students won an early registration drawing for the “Adopt a Wild Thing … in School” program. Allen’s class is sponsoring a bobcat.

Elephant’s Fork class wins visit from animals

Jessica Allen’s fifth-grade class at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School was honored Tuesday by a visit from a groundhog, a box turtle, a screech owl and a corn snake.

The animals came with Dan Summers, school education curator with the Virginia Living Museum. The students won the opportunity to have the animals visit from an early registration drawing with the “Adopt a Wild Thing … in School” program.

“It think it was fabulous,” Allen said. “They are still talking about it. They were all about the groundhog and owl,” she said.

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Allen became interested in the “Adopt a Wild Thing” program when her principal handed her a brochure at the beginning of the school year.

The “Adopt a Wild Thing” program allows students to financially sponsor an animal at the Virginia Living Museum for the year. This includes the animal’s food, facilities, and care, according to Summers.

Allen’s class voted to “adopt” a bobcat. It costs $200 to adopt a bobcat. The annual cost of supporting more than 1,000 animals at the Virginia Living Museum is over $600,000.

Allen’s class has already begun fundraising to support their bobcat. They recently ran a Valentine’s station where they sold valentines for 25 cents each. Students had to wrap the valentines and deliver them to their intended recipients. Allen’s class has raised $43 already.

“They did good,” she said. “I was very proud of them.”

The students not only executed the plan, but also came up with the idea and figured out the costs and the profits before beginning the project.

They are currently planning to hold a St. Patrick’s Day dance, complete with games and activities to raise money. They plan to serve green lemonade and a green dessert.

“There are different ways to volunteer your time,” Allen said. “They are showing a lot of responsibility.”

“We are so grateful for anyone who supports the museum,” Summers said. “When a teacher does that, it’s so special to me. It helps give kids a sense of engagement and involvement and gives them a sense of giving back to the community.”

“Yesterday was very special because it was a thank-you for that class participating in an on-going “Adopt a Wild Thing” program at the museum,” he said. “It’s a tremendous help for us at the museum.”

Toward the end of the school year, Allen’s students will have the opportunity to attend an awards ceremony at the Virginia Living Museum. The students will need to raise a minimum of $175 dollars to participate.