Wickes Elementary 5th and 6th grade students recently had the opportunity to visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge [TCWR] in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The students received the opportunity because of a service project that they started this school year. With a desire to do a community service project, the students began looking around and decided that they wanted to support the mission of the wildlife refuge. The 5th and 6th graders at Wickes Elementary competed in a “Dime Challenge”, in which their goal was to fill a two-liter bottle full of dimes. Students were told that when full, the bottle would contain around $400-500. Not only did they meet their goal, but they exceeded it and filled up a second two-liter bottle, totaling $800-$1,000.
As a part of their ongoing project, the 5th and 6th graders learned about the history of TCWR and became familiar with some of their animals after extensive time on their website. The mission of the wildlife refuge is to provide a lifetime refuge for abandoned, abused, and neglected “Big Cats”, with emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars. Throughout their time of research, the students learned about the lack of laws preventing people from owning exotic cats and the living conditions for most of the cats before they are bought to the refuge.
After their research, 5th and 6th grade students presented to the Elementary school their findings. In addition, students held a bake sale to raise money for TCWR t-shirts. As a culminating activity, the Wickes 5th and 6th graders made a visit to the wildlife refuge on April 28th. The students presented the two bottles full of dimes to the staff and as a reward they received a tour of the facility and saw many of the animals they learned about. One of the highlights of the trip for the students is when they had the opportunity to hear the big cats “caroling” to each other, a sound that can be heard over five miles away. While touring the facility, students saw Savannah, the lioness from the movie Secondhand Lions.
To see pictures of their trip, visit the Wickes Elementary Facebook page and learn more about the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.