Submitted by Oswego County BOCES
Zoo to You visited Lanigan Elementary School in Fulton recently to present an educational program and deliver adoption certificates.
Each fourth-grade class adopted an animal from the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. The money was raised from a math-fact-a-thon held earlier in the year during which students studied multiplication facts and collected pledges.
The animals adopted by Lanigan students included a Red Panda, Reticulated Python, Bald Eagle and Snow Leopard.
There are two bald eagles and four snow leopards at the Syracuse zoo.
As a token of the zoos appreciation, each of the four classes received a gift bag filled with fact sheets, adoption certificates, colored photos and a stuffed animal.
Students will take turns bringing the plush animal home with them. Their adventures will be recorded in a traveling journal.
Zoo to You’s goal is to increase awareness of the animal kingdom and encourage students to be environmentally conscious. Each program includes live animals such as birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
Professional Zoo Educator Ashley brought along a Ball Python, Chilean rose hair tarantula and a screech owl.
Students were able to pet Namari the python, and feel how its skin is smooth, not slimy. Namari eats a meal of two dead mice once weekly. He smells with his forked tongue and swallows its prey by unhooking its jaw.
Gerty the tarantula was kept safe in a plastic enclosure. Her job is to eat bugs, and the zoo mimics the diet she would have in the wild.
The Eastern screech owl Pigwidgeon was born in Cato, and was tragically involved in a car accident. Pigwidgeon was blinded in one eye, and experienced some brain damage. For this reason, Pigwidgeon is kept safe behind the scenes at the zoo, and makes frequent classroom visits.
Students learned screech owls live in Central New York. They can be found wherever trees are, and camouflage themselves during the day. The bird of prey is nocturnal, and catches food with its feet.
The fourth-graders also were given a quick math lesson that just so happened to fit into their unit on fractions.
Pigwidegeon can turn his head 270 degrees, or three-fourths around. Humans can only rotate their heads 180 degrees.