MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 23, 2013

Nature gets back to kids

Creatures brought to CSC for Earth Day activity

— At first, Olivia Comstock wasn’t too sure she wanted to touch a ball python.

However, after a few minutes of assurances from Connors State College students, the 2-year-old held the snake in her tiny hands. The CSC students were not that successful in getting Cayden Colbert, also 2, to touch a hissing cockroach that was bigger than his hand.

Snakes and big bugs were just some of the discoveries that CSC students shared with youngsters during an Earth Day observance Monday afternoon at the Port Campus.

The observance offered a way for CSC students to bring their kids to a fun, yet educational outdoor event, said Dr. Stuart Woods, a CSC biology professor. It also was open to area kids, he said.

Karee Colbert said she brought her son, Cayden, and her daughter, McKenzie, 4, to  introduce them to nature.

“They never touched a snake before,” she said. She made sure they washed their hands after each handling.

Members of several campus organizations helped with the event.

“The Ecology Club bought 100 loblolly pine seedlings to hand out,” Woods said. “The State Forestry Department gave us 100 more.”

 The Math and Science Club brought the snakes and insects, and the Connors shooting team brought a skeet-shooting set (without the guns), Woods said. There also were various skulls, hides and skins.

Kids also helped plant about six chestnut seedlings near the wooded area surrounding the campus.

Woods said the plantings will help replenish chestnut trees that had been wiped out by a nationwide blight generations ago.

“Chinese chestnut trees were brought to the Bronx Zoo, and they wiped out the American chestnut trees,” he said.

The hybrid chestnuts planted by the campus could help attract wildlife, he said, noting, “Chestnuts have 40 percent more protein than acorns.”

More chestnut trees are to be planted on CSC’s Warner campus and at its ranch, he said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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