New England Classroom turned into a Rain Forest

The Rain Forest is Dangerous!

By Becky Jacobs

Ms. Johnson’s third grade class created a rain forest that was very real.

Photo by Becky Jacobs New England third grader Will Schmidt named his snake "Earl".
Photo by Becky Jacobs
New England third grader Will Schmidt named his snake “Earl”.

Published May 3, 2013

The Herald

As different guides, Evyn Wolfinger, Zach Jalbert, Will Schmidt and others, various visitors and I through the forest, I was struck by how much these third graders knew about the rain forest.

When I asked Zach and Evyn what they thought was the most dangerous animal they both agreed it was the anaconda because it could eat an animal, “bones and all.” They both agreed that the prettiest was the blue morph butterfly. The thing in the forest that smelled the “stinkiest”, was not an animal at all, but the rafflesia flower. They told me it smelled like rotten meat, and they smiled as they crinkled their noses.

As I was guided thru the enchanting rain forest, I was told about tarantulas that eat birds, a galichi monkey which Evyn said was funny because it could climb and yell, and a holler monkey which got its name because you can hear it hollering from 3 miles away. I learned that Anaconda’s can grow 15-20 feet in length, cutter ants eat mold and a Toucan can eat a large Scarlet Macaw which gets up to 33 inches in length.

On display were the life cycles of frogs and butterflies. There were flowers and huts, trees and birds, gentle and dangerous animals, and guides who knew more than I ever knew as a third grader.

I credit all this knowledge to a wonderful teacher I met named Ms. Johnson. I watched her interact with the thirds graders and it struck me what a wonderful teacher she was. She truly loved what she was doing and they kids were very fond of her. She is to me what a teacher should be. She actually made me miss school and I left with a warm feeling.

As I was listening to Zach guide me and another family thru the magical rain forest, I heard Will Schmidt, who was guiding Susan Peterson, say “This is the Emerald Boa. I made him and his name is Earl.”

If that doesn’t make you smile, nothing will. It was truly a wonderful experience for this old gal. Thank you to all the third grade class for making a trip thru the rain forest a fun and pleasant adventure.

This was a part of the school carnival that was a fundraiser for Close-up, which helps kids go to Washington. There were many booths for a night of fun. There was barbeque for sale, pies made by the New England Women’s Club, a dunking booth, a shooting gallery, bingo, plinko, ice cream making, and many other fun things to do.

I was in awe at how our teens handled themselves at the different booths but one person stood out. Carson was in the dunk booth and a tiny guy, probably about 8 or so, threw three balls to try and make him hit the water. He came close on one ball and I smiled as I saw Carson intentionally hit the water to make the youngster think he had dunked him. That kid was smiling from ear to ear and plumb excited that he had dunked Carson.

All in all it was a great night spent chatting, watching kids play, helping to raise money and feeling blessed to be a part of this great community we call New England.





Share this post