Earth Rangers visit St. Mary Catholic School
On Fri., Feb. 2, the students at St. Mary Catholic School gathered in the gymnasium for an exciting visit from Earth Rangers – the kids’ conservation organization. Earth Rangers reps Chris (left) and Catherine provided the children with an exciting afternoon of fun and learning about animals and forests, and even brought along two birds of prey.     Carruthers photo

Muriel Carruthers
Record Staff
CHESTERVILLE – On Fri., Feb. 2, the students at St. Mary Catholic School gathered in the gymnasium for an exciting visit from Earth Rangers – the kids’ conservation organization, which according to the website, “is dedicated to educating children and their families about biodiversity, inspiring them to adopt sustainable behaviours, and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats.”

From left, Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario Trustee Karen McAllister and St. Mary Catholic School’s Principal Karen Carrière are pictured with Earth Rangers representative Chris and the paragon falcon, at the Earth Rangers visit to the school on Fri., Feb. 2. Carruthers photo

A film, entitled I Believe, began the session, showing animals and fowl of all kinds from land and sea, and the importance of forests for animals and people. As each animal was shown, the children released their own sounds of “aahs” as well as a few screams of surprise or possibly fear. Then shortly thereafter a live cam, We Believe in You, was pointed toward the audience and the students squealed with delight at seeing their own images onscreen.

Earth Rangers’ biologists Chris and Catherine, both armed with experience and gloved hands, then brought out a few live animals to teach the children about their impressive qualities, habitats, feeding preferences and the importance of conservation initiatives across Canada to prevent their extinction. The live creatures included Shelly the Midland painted turtle, a salamander, Hugo the skunk (de-odourized), a Harris hawk and a paragon falcon.

The latter two birds demonstrated their flying talents as they were let loose to fly and swoop from perch to perch, at opposite ends of the gym, with the lure of food to entice them to just those spots. Chris and Catherine were stationed each at the two perches with food. Of course, the children were instructed to sit still as they were seated on the floor, hands on laps and watch quietly. Their teachers were also in attendance, positioned around the gym to observe and no doubt to keep the kids safe.

Two teachers and two students were asked questions in a quiz to test if the teachers were as smart as the students, following another short film about animals and their environments. It was a close contest with the students winning!

Also enjoying the demonstrations and educational session were Principal Karen Carrière and, visiting from the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, Trustee Karen McAllister. McAllister later commented how engaging the presentation was.

At the end of the demonstrations Chris and Catherine shared in asking the students if they would like to be official Earth Rangers, and told them that the teachers would be handing out information they could take home to their parents.

The students had a fun, learning experience from the Earth Rangers – one that will no doubt provide them with the conservation message that no matter what age, we can all make a difference.