Young Animal Lovers Go On A Learning Adventure At Happy Tails Camp
Learning doesn’t just take place inside of the classroom – young students are expanding their worldview on different animals at the Great River Rescue Happy Tails Camp in Bemidji.
“Proper animal handling and not just with dogs and cats,” said Great River Rescue Executive Director Brandon Mustful. “We learn about animal welfare issues with wildlife or small animals like reptiles.”
In its second year, the two-week camp is open to third through fifth graders, and education is key. Here, students worked together focusing on endangered species.
“We try to have a diverse program where there are a lot of different ways to learn,” said Mustful. “Some kids learn better when they’re active, some kids learn better through touch or through listening, so we try to have a variety of activities.”
A career as a zookeeper is something Ella Walker thinks about. She says it’s important for people to be aware of animals, so they can receive the proper care.
“People don’t inspire them as other humans, but it’s good to take care of these guys because they’re as valuable as us,” said Walker, a Happy Tails Camper.
Each day features a specific theme such as equine and dogs. Today’s theme was wildlife animals. Nature’s Connection presented different raptors, where you can find plenty in Bemidji. Students were up close and personal with Striker the falcon and Whoopi the owl.
“We’re kind of just here to inform the public about why they’re important in their natural habitat, why they’re important to us and why we would like to keep them,” said Nature’s Connection Program Director Arianne Sjodahl.
Students also had a chance to bond with their furry friends.
“It’s been really fun,” said Happy Tails Camper Ridley Karger. “I like interacting with all the animals and the kittens.”
The camp is part of Great River Rescue’s educational outreach commitment and they hope to expand in the future.