Out at Warren Wilson College Littles and their WWC student mentors were visited by April Hausle, the Arboretum’s Community Engagement Educator who brought with her a couple of friends: Bernie, the bearded dragon and Salazar the king snake! April gave the group an intro about the animals and their native habitats and then gave everyone a chance to spend sometime with them. Even though a few folks were trepidatious at first, most everyone took a turn holding Salazar and petting Bernie’s back while he remained in his portable terrarium.
Once everyone had had their fill getting slithered on and putting Mr. Salazar around their shoulders, it was time to venture outside where April offered education on taking photos for the Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program—and how they can all become citizen scientists! EcoEXPLORE is an incentive-driven science enrichment program that engages Kindergarden through eighth-grade students in guided and self-directed citizen science activities. Each season, one particular area of field ecology (botany, herpetology, entomology and ornithology) is highlighted with public programming, self-guided activities, a public event and special invitation-only programs. Students engage as active participants of the scientific method as they record observations of organisms found in their neighborhoods, libraries and at the Arboretum.
Good luck to these Littles on their journey to becoming citizen scientists—we hope April’s visit sparked their interest in the natural world and ways they can engage with it and help!
Meanwhile—as the Warren Wilson group ventured into the fields and forests on campus—Phoebe Reed from the YMCA visited the Bigs and Littles at the Montford Recreation Center and offered them new ideas and perspectives on the value of fresh foods. Under Phoebe’s guidance, matches learned about how to chop veggies safely (SUPER important first step in healthy eating!), which vitamins and minerals are found in tomatoes, and of equal importance—just how much jalapeño pepper is TOO much when making pico de gallo.
After some time in the kitchen whipping up the pico, the Bigs and Littles enjoyed eating their fresh and delicious creation with some tortilla chips and even were given a copy of the recipe to take home. With so many hands on deck—clean-up was no chore for this crew.