R.K. Mellon students go wild for animal visit
It was a wild day at R.K. Mellon Elementary School last week.
Children clad in leopard print, zebra stripes and rabbit ears paraded down the hallways of the Ligonier Valley School District school to a lunch of Zoo Crew chicken nuggets, Go-Ape bananas, broccoli trees and animal crackers.
Then, they were led into the gymnasium, where things really got wild. Three rainforest creatures — a kinkajou, a Solomon Islands prehensile-tailed skink and a boa constrictor — were brought out to meet the kids.
The Pittsburgh Zoo and the district's food service provider, The Nutrition Group, brought the mobile zoo to R.K. Mellon to teach the students about healthy eating.
The same program will be brought to Laurel Valley Elementary School in May.
Michelle Marker, director of programs at The Nutrition Group, said she enlisted the animals' help under her philosophy of doing “whatever it takes to get me into the schools and talk about healthy choices to the kids.” The interactive program talks extensively about what animals of the rainforest need to eat to stay healthy and why that's important.
“Every time you eat or drink something it's an opportunity to do something good for your body,” Marker told the children.
Robin McRoberts and Rob Cramer, education specialists with the zoo, conducted the presentation.
“This is my favorite part of my job,” said Cramer, who brought each animal out and walked it around the gym, answering questions along the way.
Students gasped when the boa began slithering up Cramer's chest toward his neck and marveled when the kinkajou, known as a “honey bear,” hid his tiny face underneath Cramer's arm. He also introduced them to the skink, the reptile with a grasping tail.
“I thought the program was very informative. Our students definitely don't have the opportunity to get to the rainforest. Even when they get to the zoo, they don't get this close to the animals,” Vice Principal Wayne Waugh said.
Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.