Animals entertain, educate students

Tony Parra

There is something you can get from seeing a real-life bird or snake that you can’t get anywhere else — not in books, not on television.
That’s the experience Lindsey Middle School sixth-graders received on Wednesday when the Rio Grande Zoo-to-You program out of Albuquerque brought exotic animals for viewing.
Jan Dosch and Joyce Connors taught the free program, and gave slide presentations before they unveiled the live exotic animals to the children in one-hour intervals.
“I liked all of the animals,” Lindsey student William Bruedigan said. “I think it’s better to show them to children in school than to keep them in a zoo, where people scream at them and harass them. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.”
The focus of the presentations was the endangered species and their extinctions because of man. The volunteers shed light on the examples of extinction such as the Do Do bird and the decline of the population of animals such as the tigers, rhinoceros and gorillas. Dosch also related the extinction to New Mexico with discussion about the lobos.
Volunteers brought a leopard gecko, Western box turtle, corn snake, Netherland rabbit and chinchillas. They saved the birds for last when they presented a hill mynah and a scarlet macaw, which is the largest type of parrot in the world.
The hill mynah caused a giggling stir through the crowd with its vocabulary. The hill mynah would squawk out words such as “aloha,” “hi,” and at times it would even meow like a cat.
“I liked the hill mynah the most because it said so many words,” Michelle Garcia, a sixth-grader, said. “It’s better seeing them in person because you can learn more about them. We don’t get to see animals like these so often.”
The Lindsey science teachers, Melanie Knotts and Amanda Mayberry, helped bring the program to Portales.
“It’s something that they’ll (sixth-graders) remember for the rest of their lives,” Lindsey principal Todd Morris said. “I can still remember this program from when I was a kid.”