Hyer Goes Wild Over Penguin Visit
The attire will be strictly black and white when two African penguins visit 225 Hyer Elementary students next week.
The penguins will be accompanied by animals such as a blue and gold macaw, American alligator, and Burmese python when they arrive at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10 at the school’s auditorium. So that they’ll feel at home, Hyer’s third- and fourth-graders will be wearing black and white.
The special holiday visit is made possible through the Fort Worth Zoo’s Wild Wonders Animal Outreach program, which educates, entertains and inspires audiences by providing an up-close look at exotic wildlife. The program travels year-round throughout North Texas featuring various wild animals from the Zoo’s collection.
In preparation for the wildlife visit, Hyer science lab instructor Gail Miller and her students have been intensely focused on their animal studies.
“We have been learning about the food chain, the B-FARM (vertebrates and their adaptations), as well as bird beak adaptations,” Miller said. “Our librarian, Janet Peters, is also preparing our students for this exciting visit, by reading and talking about penguins all week. She even gave me a class set of books about emperor penguins that we have been using. We will be donned in our finest penguin apparel because we want the penguins to know that they are among friends.”
While the third- and fourth-graders are in the auditorium with the animals, the other students will be tuning in from their classrooms using Promethean boards.
“It’s incredible to watch teachers like Gail Miller create exciting learning for our students. She is literally making science come to life for our students,” said Hyer Elementary Principal Greg Smith. “This program will be a wonderful extension of our life science curriculum, and our students cannot wait for the penguins to arrive!”
African penguins are relatively small, growing to only 26-28 inches in height and weighing up to 11 pounds. Their distinctive markings include black spots and arched stripes on the chest. African penguins are also known for their unique braying call, which is similar to that of a donkey.
“We get the unique opportunity to bring the Zoo’s wildlife to the public, and it’s always a joy to see the looks on children’s faces when the come eye-to-eye with an animal they’ve never seen before,” says Chris Johnson, Fort Worth Zoo Wild Wonders Outreach Manager.