Gainesville Daily Register

March 27, 2013

Walnut Bend students 'adopt' zoo animal

By DELANIA TRIGG, Register Staff Writer

Cooke County — WALNUT BEND — Students at Walnut Bend Elementary School may be crispy rice treat experts.

For the past five years, students in the school’s third and fourth grades have made and sold the cereal bars to help “adopt” an animal at the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville.

This year, Walnut Bend students helped sponsor the zoo’s pair of clouded leopards.

Teacher Emily Martin said the adopt-a-zoo-animal project always excites her students.

“The students are thrilled,” she said. “This year, I think they think it’s funny that it’s the Gainesville Leopards but Walnut Bend has adopted them.”

Martin said her students conduct research prior to adopting their animal.

“We always start with research and the zoo suggests an animal,” she said.

The school supplies all the ingredients for the treats, Martin said. The students do the rest. The work includes deciding how much of each ingredient to buy and calculating how many treats they’ll have to sell to reach their goal.

“There’s a lot of math involved,” Martin said.

Students mix up the cereal bars in the school cafeteria where they learn how to measure ingredients, to follow recipe directions and how to work as a team. The students also wrap the treats and sell them.

“Everything we make is profit for the zoo,” she said. “My classes do the work but all the other classes and staff are so supportive. It’s really a school project.”

Funds raised during the treat sale are earmarked to enrich the zoo animal’s life, she said. “Sometimes the money buys toys for the animals,” she said. “What the zoo does with the money, we leave up to them.”

The students typically raise $100 to $200 per year.