Exotic animals are making their way to Northern Michigan, thanks to a local library.
The Kalkaska Public Library gave kids a chance to get up close and personal with animals like an American crocodile, a woodchuck, a striped skunk, a tortoise, even a Siberian lynx.
While it was definitely a learning experience for the kids, the adults learned a thing or two as well.
By the looks of the crowds around these exotic animals, the kids got a kick out of seeing them up close and personal for the first time.
“I think they had a great time,” says animal educator and trainer, Nelson Pearson. “We saw a lot of smiles, a lot of looks of excitement.”
The event was also an opportunity to put things into perspective for the kids.
“Do you need to wear her fur coat?” Pearson asks the kids. “No you do not. Because she needs her fur coat!”
And to give mom and dad a little lesson of their own.
“It’s not just important to educate kids,” Pearson explains. “The reason we like going to libraries so much is we are also talking with adults. It’s important to educate kids and adults about the animals we have, especially in this area. We have so much beautiful wildlife. We’re glad to be able to bring some out and talk about it.”
Sometimes all it takes is some exposure.
“I once had a gentleman tell me that he really didn’t like woodchucks and I asked how many woodchucks have you met…?” Pearson says. “If I can change a person’s perception about what these animals are supposedly like, then I’m doing my job.”
A job well done.
Pearson hopes the event will inspire kids to learn about not only exotic animals, but animals that live around Northern Michigan as well.