Caring for the environment and ensuring that it will continue for
many generations is what Earth Week chairwoman Ilya Mindlin-Cox said
she hoped children would learn from the assembly.
"Man's part in taking care of the Earth is not just the planet,
but the animals as well," Mindlin-Cox said.
Trenda Renegar, education director of Wildlife on Wheels, told the
first- and second-graders that her organization never takes the
animals from their natural habitat. The Sunland wildlife preserve
provides permanent care for more than 50 species of mammals, birds,
reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.
"We want wildlife to stay wild," she said. "The only way we get
animals is when for some reason they say, 'Help.'"
The organization rescues animals that are abandoned by their
owners or were injured in the wild and cannot survive on their own.
Using color posters, Renegar showed the children which animals are
threatened or endangered because of their diminished numbers.
Animal handler Mimi Greenberg brought out several animals,
including a California desert tortoise, which is on the endangered
Greenberg also showed them marmosets, small monkeys from the South
American rainforest, and a hybrid wolf-dog named Crystal.
When children get to see real animals, they are able to see the
animals' reactions to them, which has a much stronger effect on them
than a photo, Greenberg said.
Second-grader Aaron Read wants a pet. But after attending the
assembly, Aaron said he knows it is important to research which
animals are suitable for him.
"It can't be a wolf because they're too dangerous," he said.
Nevertheless, Aaron's favorite animal at the assembly was Crystal.
"I liked [her] best because she was furry and I like furry
animals," Aaron said.