MANATEE COUNTY — Elvis stole the show at Freedom Elementary School last week.
The 2-year-old alligator adopted by Karen Ciemniecki’s fourth-grade class made his first appearance at the school May 27. His caretaker, Justin Matthews of Matthews Wildlife Rescue, brought the gator and several other rescued animals to the school for a special wildlife presentation and to accept a donation for Elvis’ adoption.
“I was surprised he was squishy and scaly,” 10-year-old Jayde Boykins said after petting Elvis. “I thought he would be a little bigger, but he was awesome.”
Over the last few weeks, children in Ciemniecki’s class raised more than the $35 adoption fee for Elvis by collecting pocket change. The project was the culmination of a months-long study of Florida’s ecosystems and the book “Oonawassee Summer” by Melissa Forney.
“We decided to look at the native animals Mr. Matthews had (up for adoption through his program at Mixon Fruit Farms),” Ciemniecki said. “Elvis was our first choice.”
The 26-inch-long alligator was rescued from a gator farm, where another gator had attacked him.
During last week’s wildlife presentation, Matthews also introduced children to Freedom’s mascot, a Harris hawk named Freedom, as well as a tortoise and a Burmese python under his care and answered questions about each animal.
Matthews rehabilitates animals from his East County home and also runs the Wildlife Care and Education Center at Mixon Fruit Farms.
Ciemniecki said last week’s presentation was a perfect way to end the year and the fourth grade’s study on the environment.
“It’s good to see (students) so excited about going through with it and helping someone who really helps the
community,” she said.
For information about Matthews Wildlife Rescue or adopting an animal at the Wildlife Education Center, call Matthews at 812-1771 or visit www.mixon.com/wildliferefuge.asp.
Contact Pam McTeer at email@example.com.
Currently 0 Responses
26 Tribute to Heroes Parade - Main St LWR
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
28 Braden River Soccer Club Try-outs
29 LWRBA May Membership Lunch
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
31 May YLA Breakfast "Legendary Leaders"
7:30 am - 9:00 am
Gullett student wins speech contest
Gullett Elementary School student Hailey Wahlers took home top honors May 11, after placing first in the Tropicana District Speech Contest.
Girl Scouts give cookies a new cause
Local Daisy Scouts from Troop 180 are helping Feeding Empty Little Tummies feed homeless school children in the area.
Dancing group to host fundraiser
Members of KC and the Sunshine Dancers, a group of Manatee County dancers ages 8 to 20, will show off their dancing skills in jazz, hip-hop and contemporary dance from 7 to 9 p.m. May 28, as the group holds a show titled "Breaking Ground."