After doing research to learn as much as possible about the habitat, basic needs and behaviors of red wolves, students in Ms. Cuthbertson’s classn took a vote to determine what they believed would be the best solution to the challenge of the parentless wolves discovered in False Cape Park. Interestingly, the class was split between returning the wolves to their natural habitat and caring for them in a nature preserve. Students came to understand that the structure of wildlife was difficult to recreate when animals have lived in captivity, though it would probably be ideal to release the animals back into the wild.
A video about wolves helped the children to understand that it would be a laborious effort that would require time and patience should they decide to try to teach the wolves to survive in the wild. The connection was made to the second grade curriculum when students learned that Native Americans value and have a strong connection to the earth. The video about wolves explained that various tribes will often identify a member who becomes responsible for taking the time and care to prepare a wild animal such as a wolf to return to its natural environment.
As a culminating event, Ms. Conti, the animal control officer responsible for the Landstown area and beyond, came to talk with the students. Officer Conti shared with students the gear and tools that she uses, the kinds of calls that she gets and the importance of keeping animals living safely and harmoniously with humans. She also discussed the likelyhood of red wolves turning up in our immediate area and steps that might be taken to care for them should they be found.
Students will now consider the skills and qualities necessary to do the job of an animal control officer compared to the skills and qualities that they posess or would be interested in developing. They will see if they can envision themselves doing this work and will explain why they believe that this job would or would not be a good fit for their future selves.
And so, the curriculum becomes rigorous and relevant!