Children learn about extinction at Harris Nature Center

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By Isabella Shaya
Meridian Times staff writer

On April 5, parents and their children attended the Extinction is Forever weekday science class at the Harris Nature Center, 3998 Van Atta Road.

The center hosts three weekday science classes each season, on topics such as predators and their lunch and crows and ravens. The classes cater to children ages 5 to 14.

Park Naturalist Kati Adams taught the class in a classroom setting and on the center’s trails.

Inside, the children learned about the progression of a species becoming extinct, and why this happens. They got to touch turtles housed in the center, some of which are endangered. Outside, the children ran and walked through the trails while answering Adam’s questions about extinction and what they learned inside.

Adams said the class is educational for the children, as opposed to other classes at the center which are more fun.

“These are actual science lessons,” Adams said. “It’s a classroom setting and you learn your science for the day.”

Lilly Widdicombe, an 11-year-old from Grand Ledge, said she enjoyed the class because she got to learn and play with her friends.

“(The) teacher did a good job,” Widdicombe said. “(I) learned a lot of new words and terms — endangered species, threatened species (and) species of special concern.”

East Lansing resident Katy Larson brought her two children to the class, and said she has been taking her 5-year-old son, Logan, to the center since he was about 1 years old.

Larson said Logan seemed to be enjoying himself at the class, as he ran around in a zebra hat with one of his good friends.

“It was very helpful to have an education program to get out of the house when they are so little,” Larson said. “(It) provides an opportunity to socialize with other kids before he’s even started school.”

Adams said the class usually is filled with local homeschooled children.

“When we first started the program we got like 50 each month,” Adams said. “They like to do field trips (and) we saw the need in the area.”

Adams said some of the children have been coming to the center since they were little, so it is fun for her to see them grow up and learn.

“(As) for any teacher, I know them, they are my students,” Adams said.

The next and last class of the spring season is May 3 on birds, nests and eggs.

Those interested can sign up by calling (517) 349-3866, each class costs $4 per child and $2 when registering for the whole season.

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