Hampton Bays First Graders Learn About Wildlife

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Educators from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, along with an assortment of animals, returned to the Hampton Bays Elementary School for the annual wildlife education presentation for first-grade students.

On Wednesday, January 26, students in Kristie Loper’s and Janis Poremba’s first grade classes were treated to visits from returning favorite animals, including Rocky the bearded dragon, Paco the chinchilla and Ziggy the Burmese python. Other animals included a hooter owl, an Indian walking stick insect, hissing cockroaches and a corn snake.

The teachers also enjoyed the annual presentations, made this year by Marissa Nelson and Kelly Honce from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.

“Paco, he’s my favorite,” Ms. Loper said of the oh-so-soft and furry chinchilla. Kids in her class voted “Hooter the Owl,” Paco (which one of the children called simply “the fuzzy one”) and “the big, long snake” as their favorite animals this year.

The purpose of the visit, which coincides with the school’s first-grade wildlife education program, is to teach children about animals and nature, according to Ms. Nelson.

“We want to teach them about native and non-native wildlife, how to be respectful, how they’re living in captivity and also pet responsibility,” she said.