Today, all of second grade got a visit from Wildlife Encounters! They shared animals with us that help our Earth breathe and grow. We talked about all the things we need to do to help the plants in our gardens grow, such as turning the soil, adding fertilizer, planting seeds, protecting plants from pests, and turning the soil again.
The first animal Krista brought out was a Tegu named Monster. The Tegu lives in the rain forest in South America and finds food near or in the water, so he burrows in the ground by the water to make his home, which helps the earth breathe. He fertilizes soil because he eats mussels with bone crunching jaw, and his sandblaster-like stomach helps him to break down the shells much faster than they would through decomposing, and he puts the nutrients back into the soil.
The second animal Krista shared with us was the Hog-Nose Snake. They are an endangered species that mixes soil by burrowing in the ground to find worms and bugs, brings air into the soil and also add fertilizer to the soil as they digest their food.
Krista then brought out a Blue and Gold Macaw named Sophie, who plants seeds by eating them and quickly digesting them as she flies. Fruits want to be eaten by birds because birds digest them so quickly, the seeds don't get damaged. That is why they cover their seeds with yummy flesh so birds want to eat them!
Then Krista brought out a Hedgehog named Rafiki (which means friend in Swahili!) Rafiki is a friend to pets because she eats pesky bugs and insects that try to eat the plants. In Africa, many people put small shelters in their gardens to encourage the hedgehogs to stay there and keep the bugs away from their crops!
Ms. Riley got to hold Rafiki while the giraffes got to pet her!
Ping the Woylie is an animal native to Australia, they are part of the kangaroo family! Krista brought Ping to share with us because they too eat pests that destroy plants, but the pests they eat are fungus! Unfortunately, Woylies are also critically endangered, so places like Wildlife Encounters and conservation zoos are working to protect them.
The last animal Krista showed us was Athena the Three Banded Armadillo. Armadillos live in warmer climates, and they protect themselves from their predators by rolling into a ball of their hard armor. Armadillos like Athena help the earth by bringing more oxygen to the soil as she looks for bugs and worms to eat with her long nose and sharp claws. The soil is also good for armadillos as it helps them to regulate their body temperature in the very hot climates they live in.
After we got to pet a few of the animals, we went back to the classroom to draw pictures of our favorite animals that we saw and we labeled the parts of the animals' bodies and wrote about how they help the earth to add to our science folders.
Thank you so much to Krista from Wildlife Encounters for sharing so much with us today! We loved seeing all of the animals you brought along, and we learned so much about what animals to do shape and grow our planet :)