MASON — Migration, hibernation, adaptation.
Children learned these are the ways animals in the wild survive winter conditions when the Mason County Libraries presented the program, “Animal Edition, I Survived: Winter,” on Friday.
The event coincided with a three-hour early dismissal day in Mason County Schools, and provided elementary age students with an afternoon of learning and fun.
The program was a part of “Kids Connect” in the local libraries, which has encompassed everything from special events, like building gingerbread houses at Christmas, to learning experiences, summer reading and story hour. “Kids Connect” is funded with grant money provided by United Way of the River Cities.
The animal program was held at each county library location – Point Pleasant, Mason, and New Haven. At New Haven, three students from Wahama High School, Abbie Lieving, Mary Roush, and Zachary Roush, assisted in exchange for community service hours.
Children were first led to an area where Lieving read the book, “Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate, How Animals Keep Warm.” Following the book, the kids were invited to various stations for learning and activities.
The migration station, manned by Zachary Roush, told how birds fly long distances for many days to reach warmer climates. They travel in a “V” shape so they don’t have to flap their wings as hard against the wind, and even take turns being in the front. As a demonstration, the children held “V” shaped strips of paper up to a fan to see how the wind affected the paper.
The hibernation station, led by Library Clerk Racheal Zerkle, showed how certain animals add extra fat or blubber to their bodies to keep them warm. The children experimented by first placing a hand in a container of ice water. Next, they placed the hand into a “blubber glove” filled with lard to show how the extra fat kept their hand warmer when placing it back into the ice. Finally, they entered a makeshift “cave” to hunker down for the remainder of the cold weather.
The adaptation station was led by Mary Roush and told of how certain animals adapt their colors to remain hidden in the snow and from predators. The children searched for the white felt animals in the tub of cotton “snow.”
Games, puzzles, and coloring and crafting their own winter spinner wheels finished the afternoon. Library Clerk Sheila Roush presented each child with a new book, bookmark, and treat bag before leaving.
Other programs are being planned for future school early dismissal days, and will be announced on each library location’s Facebook page. For information on all library events and services, call the Point Pleasant library at 304-675-0894, New Haven library at 304-882-3252, and Mason library at 304-773-5580.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.