Cooperative Environment visits Straughn

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fourth graders at Straughn Elementary School recently had the opportunity to learn more about frogs, lizards and snakes during a Cooperative Environment program.

“The Cooperative Environment program is all about hands-on interaction and learning,” said Patty Singleton-Seay, spokesperson for Covington Electric Cooperative. “It provides fourth-grade students with the opportunity to hold or touch small amphibians and reptiles in the security of their classroom after watching an education slideshow about the animals.”

The program is only presented to fourth-graders.

Wildlife biologists Jimmy and Sierra Stiles present the program, which is sponsored by and coordinated by CEC.

“We try to provide hands-on educational experiences for the children,” Jimmy Stiles said. “We teach them about local animals that live in and around them every day and their importance to the local ecosystem.”

Stiles said the hands-on learning is tied to the Alabama Course of Study for each age group.

“We try to tailor it to each individual grade level,” he said.

Stiles said they have a few new animals in the line-up, including the Eastern indigo snake.

“We talked to them about the reintroduction of the indigo snakes,” Stiles said.

Stiles was referencing the reintroduction of the Eastern indigo snakes into the Conecuh National Forest in 2010, after more than 50 years.

Historically, the Eastern indigo snake lived throughout Florida, the coastal plain of southern Georgia and extreme South Alabama and extreme southeastern Mississippi.

Additionally, Stiles said they present several types of salamanders and gopher tortoises.

Singleton-Seay said that while CEC offers a variety of educational program to local schools, Cooperative Environment is highly anticipated by the schools that request it.

“A Cooperative Environment was created to teach children about the importance of preserving local ecosystems and to introduce some of the animals that inhabit our local forests,” Singleton-Seay said.

Fourth grade teachers interested in requesting the program may call 427-3508 to schedule a presentation.