By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer
Walnut Bend Elementary School students visited the Frank Buck Zoo Monday to deliver a $222 donation for the zoo’s new clouded leopard exhibit.
As in year’s past, the third and fourth grade students made and sold crispy rice cereal bars to fund their adopt-a-zoo-animal project.
“For the past five years the third and fourth graders sponsor an animal suggested by the zoo,” Walnut Bend teacher Emily Martin said. “We begin our ‘adoption process’ by learning about the animal chosen through research and study.”
In making the rice crispy bars, the students learn how to follow a recipe and determine how to figure the costs of the ingredients involved.
They must also decide how many bars they will need to sell to reach their goal. Once the bars are made, the students wrap them and sell them.
“The goal set this year was $160 and we exceeded this by $62,” Martin said.
During Monday’s zoo field trip, the classes presented a donation check to Frank Buck Zoo director Susan Kleven who talked to the students about the clouded leopards and what they mean to the zoo. The students also had a chance to ask questions about the leopards.
“We were able to get the pair of female leopards from another zoo,” Kleven told the students. “They are litter mates and this will always be their home unless they are sent to another zoo for breeding purposes.”
Kleven also explained how the donation will be used.
“The money the students raised will be used as part of the enrichment program for the clouded leopards,” Kleven said. “This will involve additions to their habitat as well as toys that will enhance their environment.”
Martin said her students love the animal project.
“The students get so excited with the adopt-an-animal program,” she said. “It’s thrilling to them to be able to do this and they learn to work together as a team for a common good.”
“We look forward to this each year and the whole school has a part in our reaching our goal,” she said.
Although their school is comparatively small in numbers, the Frank Buck Zoo clouded leopards are benefiting from the big hearts and helping hands of the students and teachers at Walnut Bend Elementary.