Each April, the Office of Residential Life and Education hosts an Earth Day Celebration on campus. This year’s event was held on April 26 and featured live animals, as well as plant giveaways and fly fishing lessons. The program was scheduled to take place on the Alumni Quad but was moved inside the Jean Student Center due to inclement weather.
In order to bring the critters to the hilltop, Residence Life partnered with Curious Creatures, a Massachusetts based company which coordinates interactive life animal programs. According to the organization’s website, they are the only live animal educator in the area that is fully licensed by Fish and Wildlife, MSPCA, and USDA, making them a cruelty-free and animal-friendly company.
An employee from Curious Creatures performed in show-and-tell style in front of the crowd in the Student Center, as he brought out various animals, including several mammals and reptiles. He shared information about each animal’s place of origin and distinguishing characteristics, as well as their name.
The event’s animals consisted of a chinchilla, a rabbit, a tortoise, a boa constrictor, a bearded dragon, a treefrog, a gecko, and a skunk. Some smaller animals, such as the bearded dragon and the chinchilla, were passed around among the crowd, giving students the opportunity to pet or hold the creatures. Other animals, such as the tortoise, roamed on a large mat on the ground throughout the event. The animals sparked various reactions – from fear to excitement, to joy – among the students in the crowd.
In addition to the Curious Creatures exhibit, two Resident Assistants hosted programs at the celebration. Senior Resident Assistant PJ Kendall showcased an event in which he taught students how to fly fish.
Resident Assistant Julie Duperier informed students about which plants are especially friendly to honey bees. According to Earthday.org, bees are a keystone species, meaning that other species in an ecosystem rely on them to survive. By protecting the bees, humans can also help other animals and themselves as well. RA Julie also provided free plants for students.
Resident Director Ryan Ford told The Crier that “We feel having these events around Earth Day is beneficial because it can get others thinking about the beauty of our great campus and the world we live in. It also provides a nice break for students right before finals begin.”