Animal Diets Poster Project

GSOSW Zoological Brownie Badge

GSOSW Zoological Brownie Badge

In addition to her Oregon Trail Badge, which is nearly complete, Anna is also working on her GSOSW Zoological Brownie Badge. Yesterday, I shared her hippo habitat, and today I’m sharing her second activity— identifying herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores from a local zoo.  Anna chose Wildlife Safari as her “zoo,” and a poster-project made from her own photos as the second step toward her badge.

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A Stunning Hippo Habitat

Shoebox hippo habitat

Anna’s Hippo Habitat.

In addition to the Oregon Trail Badge, Anna is working on the GSOSW Zoological Badge. Her first project—study an animal’s habitat and build a scale model in a shoe box. Inspired by the two hippos at the Wildlife Safari, Anna chose to build a hippo habitat.

Our three steps in Anna’s own words.

First, we looked up hippo habitats. Next, we made the plans. Last, we made the hippo habitat.

We had a pretty good idea what we wanted to build from the hippo pen at the Safari, but we did some research online in case we missed something. Then Anna drew a picture of her habitat—a nice deep pond for the hippos to wade in, lots of grass to eat, and trees for shade and an occasional dessert of dropped fruit.

After that, she built the habitat. She used blue construction paper for the pond and green felt for the grass. She borrowed the palm trees and rocks from her dinosaur set, and the toy hippos from her grandma.

Stunned by hippos

Even Anna is stunned by this magnificent habitat!

Coming tomorrow, Part Two: Researching animal diets.

Counting by Hand

Cheetah Change cup

Photo: Tammie Valdes

Two weeks ago, one of the Wildlife Safari’s ambassador cheetahs visited Anna’s school and I wrote about his visit for Five Minute Friday. Over the last two week, Anna and her classmates have been collecting change to donate to the Safari’s Cheetah Breeding program, and today we counted totals for each classroom.

Hand counting that much change is a chore, but we’ve got it down to a system. My wife Julia, who’s far better at both math and money than I am taught me how to count money fast and efficiently, and using this system three adults and one eight-year-old were able to count eighteen classrooms worth of “Cheetah Change” in about an hour and a half.

Here are the steps.

  1. Take out the bills.
  2. Separate coins (quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies).
  3. Count coins from largest to smallest.
  4. For every four quarters put one in a “dollar pile” and the other three in the counted change pile.
  5. For every ten dimes, put one in the “dollar pile” and nine in the counted change pile.
  6. For every nickel, put one in the “dollar pile” and nineteen in the counted change pile (it helps to count nickels by twos).
  7. Once you get to pennies, you’ll need to make a third pile (“tens pile”)  to count every tenth penny. It’s too easy to lose your place when counting to 100.
  8. The number of  leftover (less than ten) pennies go in rightmost column (i.e. $__._7).
  9. Count the “tens pile.” For every ten pennies, put one in the “dollar pile” and nine in the counted change pile.
  10. The number of  leftover (less than ten) pennies go in the next column over (i.e. $__.37).
  11. Count the “dollar pile.” Add the number of coins to your bill count to get the dollar total and place that to the left of the decimal point. (i.e. $26.37),
  12. Collect the bill and change. Your done with that jar!

The result? Anna’s school ended up raising over $360 for the cheetahs. The two top classes got an extra recess.

And most amazing of all, our hand-counted total was within forty cents of the machine count at the bank.

The system works!

Five Minute Friday

And on the first Friday of each month …

Fatherhood for Fridays

Up Close

Khayam outside

Arriving at the school.

It’s one thing to see a wild animal in a photograph, or behind a fence at a zoo or a wild animal park. It’s quite another to see that animal up close. The children at Anna’s elementary school got that chance yesterday when one of the Wildlife Safari’s ambassador cheetahs, Khayam, paid a visit.

Khayam onstage

Onstage with his keepers and a nice big bucket of steak.

The kids were mesmerized by this beautiful cat and sat in silence as one of the keepers talked at length about him and his sister Mchumba—how they were abandoned by their mother and hand-raised by staff, how they were trained to become cheetah ambassadors—and about the beautiful, endangered animals that the Safari works so hard to preserve.


He loves being in front of an audience.

At the end of the presentation, my wife Julia took the stage to encourage the kids to raise money for the Safari’s cheetah breeding program. She asked if the kids wanted to help and they all responded with an enthusiastic “yes.” The plight of the cheetah had been made real to them in part by seeing one of these animals up close.

Laying with his head off the stage.

He liked seeing the kids up close too. Good thing he was full.

And now they will do their small part to make sure that someday their kids will get the same opportunity. That there will still be cheetahs for them to see up close.

Photos © 2014 by Julia M. Ozab.

Five Minute Friday

All About Cheetahs

Cheetah running

Photo: Mark Dumont (CC BY 2.0)

Anna’s school had a special guest today. Khayam, one of the ambassador cheetahs from the Wildlife Safari, visited together with his keepers. All the kids got to see a cheetah up close and learn about these amazing animals. Here’s some of what they learned …

1) The cheetah is the fastest runner on the planet.

2) It runs 70 miles per hour, and achieves the speed from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds. It runs two times faster than a race horse.

3) A cheetah can cover up to 20 feet in just one stride with its powerful legs.

4) Cheetahs are built for speed with their lean bodies, long legs, and narrow heads.

5) Cheetahs have non-retractable claws with hard pads on the bottom of their paws that give them a strong grip on the ground for running.

6) When cheetahs are running, they use their tails to help them steer and turn in the direction they want to go, like the rudder of a boat.

7) A cheetah’s tail is also essential during fast running because it balances the animal and allows sudden turns which happen often when the prey is trying to escape.

8) Although the cheetah runs very fast, it cannot run for very long. After 400 to 600 yards, a cheetah becomes exhausted and needs to take a rest.

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