Crocodiles, guinea pigs and bear poop, oh my.
Students had the opportunity to learn about all sorts of animals, their habitats and what they leave behind during Sturgeon City’s annual Earth Day event Wednesday.
More than 500 area students participated at the Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center, according to Amber Mallard, Sturgeon City’s program coordinator. Six different schools were represented, as well as a large pool of homeschooled youth, she said.
Various area organizations participated such as Possumwood Acres, Sterling Exotics, Hammocks Beach State Park, the Sneads Ferry Environmental Education Center and Onslow County Museum. The kids rotated through different booths where they learned about different organizations and enjoyed hands on activities such as paper making and terrarium building. They also met live animals and dug for fossils.
“You don’t often see the animals, but we might find evidence that the animals were there,” Chance Hellmann, education coordinator with the Onslow County Museum, said as students approached his booth exhibiting snakeskin, a bird’s nest and “animal scat.” Various rubber examples of animal feces drew many students to the table.
“They love the animals,” said Animal Ambassadors attendant Jamie McIntire, an educator with Sturgeon City.
Queens Creek Elementary School Teacher Rita Southern said the event helped kids understand more about the environment.
“A lot of these (students) would never see a crocodile,” she said.
Students learned about local nonprofits and community organizations. Older students learned about the impact of littering and how they could help clean area waters, according to the Sturgeon City website. The Coast Guard Auxiliary taught students about water safety. Students were then able to canoe the New River.
“They are learning about environmental stewardship and how to conserve and recycle, and protect what we have,” Mallard said.