Posted in animal facts, animal mascots, animals, Arts, biodiversity, ecology, education, educational mascots, Entertainment, environment, foxes, Multimedia, nature, Nonprofit Groups, red fox, Small Business, storrytelling, talking mascots, Uncategorized, vulpines, Western New York Organizations, Wild Animals, wildlife, wildlife education

Animal School Fall Roundup

Housekeeping!

Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the Animal School blog. We have been busy behind the scenes, getting ready to transfer apartments, so Animal School has taken the back burner for a few weeks. Fortunately, we’re almost moved, so our creature features are back in action, and my pun game is back on point.

First off, we had a marvelous time at the 7th Annual Harvest Moon Festival in Walworth yesterday. Swift the Fox was out, teaching skulks of kits — or groups of kids — about gekkering and other lupine and canine noises. We also crafted a display of fox faces that shows people the different species of foxes around North America, as well as an info sheet that highlights details about those species. We had so many enthusiastic art students at our coloring station! It was truly a great time, and we look forward to returning next year.

In case you missed the event and would like share our handouts with your kids or students, we have:

Fox Face_Coloring Handout

Fox Facts

Swift Gekkering

And don’t forget our Vulpinology series on YouTube! Down the line, we do want to get better recording equipment and mics, but we are working with what we have for now.

Other good news: Fun Animal Facts return today! This week’s theme will be Girls Versus Boys, in which we explore the similarities and differences among species in the Animal Kingdom. Next week will be Close, But No Babar (a pun of “close, but no cigar,” with an homage to the cartoon elephant). In there, we will look at animals that have several overlapping features but are not the same. Think cheetahs and leopards, buffaloes and bison, snakes and legless lizards, etc.

Now, on the flip side, we’re going to have to take a hiatus from Turtles Around Town. Scouting out areas and driving around for a new picture every week has taken too much time and money. We considered Photoshopping the turtles into pictures, but we wanted to keep the shots authentic. We may continue with the feature sporadically, but, for now, the upkeep is too great for us to handle.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re calling our operation quits! Quite the opposite. We have a vulture character, Stinky, in the works, and Nick recently acquired a buffalo mask, so our family of furballs is growing! A horse costume and skunk costume are also on deck. Stay connected with us to see the work we’re doing. We’re on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

In the meantime, remember that both the Wildlife Educators Coalition and our Animal School program are available for events and programs around Western New York throughout the year. School visits, library programs, community center activities, bookstore readings, scout meetings, birthday parties, senior center enrichment activities — you name it, and we can craft a customized program for your group! WEC has the live animals for demonstrations, and Animal School has the talking animal characters (mascots and puppets). You can also have both the live animals and mascots show up to your event. We offer a sliding price scale, so no one gets denied our unique, hands-on educational experience because of his or his income or location. We are always eager to work with other groups, so join in on our animal antics, already!

For more information about booking us, contact Nick Hadad at nhadad12@yahoo.com for Animal School and Karin Fires at karinfires@gmail.com for the Wildlife Educators Coalition (our parent group with the live animals).

We’ll see you all soon!

 

Posted in animal facts, animals, Arts, biodiversity, ecology, education, Entertainment, environment, Multimedia, nature, nature conservation, Video Games, Wild Animals, wildlife, wildlife education

Animals in Video Games: A Fun Animal Facts Recap

By Katie Gill (as are all the other Fun Animal Facts recaps)

Since I was 3 or 4, I was enamored with video games. They were the chosen group activity for me, my dad and my sister. Funny that my mom never got too into them, but I can see why, when you have a 4 year old yelling at you for not being able to play as well as her, you wouldn’t be interested in spending your valuable time undertaking that task. (And, yes, this is anecdotal evidence that I had a Type A personality early on.) I’ve often joked that the Wii motion controls came about because there were a bunch of people like my dad who would kick the air and twist their bodies while playing games because they were so immersed in them. Now that I’m pushing 30, I don’t have the time or money to commit to gaming that I used to, but I’m still a fan, especially of the Nintendo classics I grew up with like Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong.

It’s funny, a lot of people have been praising Animal School since we launched its most recent iteration in May, saying they’re glad we’re trying to get kids engaged with nature and the outdoors, keeping them from staying inside all day playing videogames. Now, I understand not wanting kids to be sickly pale from staying indoors all the time, ending up with poor social skills, limited interests or anger issues from not having a proper variety of outlets, but that composite is a stereotype of gamers; the exception, not the rule.

Sadly, there are a lot of never-really-going-to-be adults who fit that mold, but in reality, we all play games. This is probably the first or second generation, to my delight, that grew up with video games and will be teaching its kids how to play them. Family time has become digital, and that’s not a bad thing. Yes, you can spend too much time gaming (I remember, as a preteen, playing Spyro the Dragon for so long one day that stationary objects on screen started to move, and marathoning Tomba 2 with my sister for 8 or 9 hours one weekend, with Dr. Pepper being our beverage of choice), but an hour or two a day of playing video games, as long as you move around regularly and take care of everything in your life that needs to be tended to, can be a great outlet and even, as counterintuitive as it sounds, a means of socializing.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned on my blog, Scumbling Up Art, the benefits of casual gaming, including increased problem solving skills, concentration, spacial reasoning, dexterity, creativity and hand-eye coordination, but we’re not here to discuss the merits of video games, we’re here for the animals!

Therefore, without further ado, here is this week’s Fun Animal Facts recap: 

  • Crash Bandicoot actually shares little resemblance to the Eastern Barred Bandicoot of Australia that he is based on. ebbtpgif.pngImage from http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=965
  • Starfish don’t attack prey by shuridkc2spinning at them like they do in the Donkey Kong Country franchise. Rather, since their mouths are at the center of their underbellies, starfish tend to wrap themselves around prey and envelop meals.
  • Like Super Mario, flying squirrels can glide between trees using the cape-like membranes between their front and back legs. Image fromnsmbu-mario-flying-squirrel-suit281290-004-19cd3ba7https://t.co/XHzZ6RqSzO https://t.co/gE6H53NSlq
  • Several Pokemon are based on real animals. Caterpie and Poliwag, for example, are an Eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillar and translucent Costa Rican tadpole in real life.tumblr_o11c10qweg1u38l26o6_1280poliwag_complete
  • Like in Minecraft, wild horses gather in groups, usually in packs of 3 to 20.horse-breeding_thbImage from https://t.co/YxjJ22DTSo
  • The Loftwings in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are modeled after Shoebills, which we have mentioned in FAF before. Moreover, all members of the Knights Academy, besides Zelda and Link, have names related to birds.15Karane = Crane
    Groose = Goose
    Gaepora is clearly based off of the owl in Ocarina of Time
    Owlan = Owl
    Horwell = Hornbill or Horned Owl
    Cawlin = Macaw
    Fledge = Fledgling
    Pipit = Pipit
    Stritch = Ostrich
    Henya = Hen (like a mother hen to the students)
    and Phoeni (the arm coming out of the toilet) = Phoenix, a fictional bird

Apparently, I only did six days instead of seven this time, but hopefully there’s enough meat in those facts to hold you over until next week.

Stay wild, my friends!