Written by Executive Director of LSP Joe Meyer:
At St. Gabriel Parish School in Hubertus, WI, students gathered for a Nature Club educational program called “Creatures of the Night.” Laudato Si’ Project led the program for 24 students from K4 to 4th grade. The focus of the program was on the cool adaptations these nocturnal creature have. To start, we dressed up our brave volunteer in all the adaptations you see in nocturnal creatures: big eyes (sunglasses), good hearing (antlers representing ears), good sense of smell (nose and whiskers), echolocation (headlamp), silent wings (wings), and great sense of touch (mittens).
We began to discuss one of the best examples of nocturnal adaptations, Owls. (see our Post about searching for Owls during an Owl Prowl.) We talked about eyesight, hearing, and silent flight. Students got to see the feather structures on owl wings that make them silent and compare the feathered feet of owls to that of other raptors like hawks.
Students then learned about bats and the different types of adaptions they posses for hunting at night. To demonstrate how parent bats are able to find their own young amidst colonies numbering in the thousands to millions, we played a scent game. Each “baby bat” had a unique scent that matched a “parent bat.” They were then scent off, pun intended, to find their young.
Raccoons were the next topic because of their amazing tactile sense in their paws allowing them to find prey in the muddy waters they hunt. To simulate their abilities, we blindfolded groups of students and had them search for specific “prey” by feel alone. Not as easy as it sounds.
We ended the program with students being able to identify adaptations of a nocturnal creature they chose to represent. They then tried their best to look like their animal by striking a pose.
A special thanks to volunteer parent, Ann Schellinger, for all her help and support of Nature Club!