MIDDLEPORT — A cockatoo, monkey and lemur invaded Meigs Elementary on Thursday evening as part of the Rain Forest Live event.
More than 500 people filled the Meigs Elementary cafetorium for a live show about rain forests, and included audience participation.
Audience members enjoyed the comedic antics of exotic animals found in rain forests across the globe, including a macaw, a cockatoo, a Capuchin monkey, and a black-and-white ruffed lemur. Children and adults alike learned the importance of the rain forests, from providing oxygen for the entire world to the biodiversity contained within each rain forest on the planet. Mike Kohlrieser, using his group of animals, also stressed the importance of working together to “make this a better world to live in for ourselves and the creatures we share with it.”
Understanding Wildlife is a program whose goal is to have as many people as possible see the collection of rain forest creatures and experience the intelligence and personalities of these animals. The group performs shows all over the United States. Founded in the 1980s by Mike and Marcia Kohlrieser, since 1992 the program has visited thousands of elementary schools across the country.
The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio awarded an AEP Access to Environmental Education mini-grant to the After School Kids (ASK) program at Meigs Elementary which allowed for the program to take place. The mini-grant is awarded to projects “encouraging youth participation in learning experiences linked to local natural resources and sharing the lessons learned with their communities.”
The project kicked off with a field trip to the Meigs County Soil and Water Conservation area on New Lima Road, and included activities and games in partnership with the Meigs County District Public Library, the Ohio State University Extension office, and the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District. Throughout the month of October and early November, students in the ASK program were given the opportunity to learn about local wildlife, gardening, and fishing, among other activities. The Understanding Wildlife show was the culminating event. Official attendance stands at 503 people, making this the single most attended Family Night event that ASK has hosted.