Yes – tomorrow, May 23 is World Turtle Day! To celebrate, our students had a SHELL of a good time at Thiriot Elementary School on Tuesday!
Local author Carolyn Ahern recently donated a large quantity of books and plush toys based on her character, Tino the Turtle, to Communities In Schools of Nevada. Tino is a special turtle who has a Fairy Godturtle that grants Tino’s wishes to travel around the world and make new friends and explore new cultures.
All of the students in our 26 elementary schools will receive a copy of one of the five Tino books before school is out – and to celebrate the gift, we invited Springs Preserve and the Tortoise Group, along with local tortoise Larry Bird and his adopted mom, Anne Mazzola, to meet two classes of students at Thiriot.
One of the Thiriot faculty brought in a baby desert tortoise for the students to see. Kathy Utiger from the Tortoise Group also brought Frieda, a freeze-dried tortoise who she brings to many educational events.
Site Coordinator Kirstin read excerpts from Tino the Turtle Travels to Kenya – The Great Safari. The students were enthralled with Tino and his giraffe friend’s narrow escape from a lion. Kathy spoke to the students about the proper care and habitats for adopted tortoises.
Then, Anne brought Larry Bird out to show the students. They all moved as close as they could to see Larry. While shy at first, Larry got bolder as he ate special turtle food and his favorite treat, rose petals.
The students got to pet him (gently!) and Larry began to explore all over the courtyard. Springs Preserve zoologist Rachel van Horn answered questions about turtles and tortoise behavior and biology.
After two classes, Larry was still raring to go, but the students had to go to lunch – after all, they hadn’t gotten any rose petals! The kind folks from Springs Preserve had brought backpacks and water bottles for the students, and Kathy handed out special tortoise stickers.
We can’t thank Rachel and everyone from Springs Preserve (and our own Ed Cecchi, who sits on both our Board as well as the Preserve’s board), Kathy from the Tortoise Group and of course, Anne Mazzola and Larry Bird for coming out and making the student’s day.
Here’s some video of the event:
Remember to be kind to all animals and show your Turtle Power while you enjoy a wonderful Turtle Day tomorrow!