There was a bit of hissing, some coiling and a lot of flapping going on Thursday in Lynn Groover's seventh-grade classroom at Southeast Bulloch Middle School.
Groover's Life Science students received an up-close look at some of the creatures from Georgia Southern's Center for Wildlife Education and a lesson about the animals.
"We have been studying interactions of living things and I think it's important for the kids to be able to see actual living things and how they interact," Groover said. "We've done a few activities in the classroom. We also talk about adaptations and how adaptations help organisms survive in their environment and ecosystems."
Julie Ray with the Wildlife Center brought to the classroom a sampling from insects to large birds of prey with each representing a link in the food chain. As she presented each species, Ray explained its role in an ecosystem and pointed how each had adapted to best survive in its environment.
"The main thing we try to get across to children is that the environment is very special to all of us and that we need to be aware of our surroundings," Ray said. "If we teach them about the animals that we have here and how they are helpful to us and our environment then they'll learn to take care of our environment for future generations."
Ray began her presentation by picking one girl and one boy volunteer. She then asked each to close their eyes and hold out their hands. After the first boy decided against volunteering and some serious second thoughts from Ariel Newsome, Ray pulled out two Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
As the class gasped at the sight of the two-inch long insects, Newsome was even more reluctant, but was OK when Ray placed the bug in her hands.
Ray proceeded to bring out a frog, a bearded dragon lizard, two snakes, a Harris hawk and, finally, a Eurasian eagle owl, who caused a few gasps of his own when he flapped the full width of his wings.
"It's a lot of fun," Groover said. "A lot of the children don't have any experience and wouldn't be able to go to the Raptor Center, so to bring it to the classroom where everybody can see it at the same time is just wonderful."
Ray also came to SEB Middle Wednesday and travels to schools around Bulloch and the region with her menagerie.
"My favorite part of the job is being able to come here with the kids and teach them about the animals we have and how they are beneficial to us," she said. "The animals kind of put on a show themselves some times. They'll do things that are unexpected. That's when it gets really funny."