Children learn about animal adaptation

By Beth A. Birmingham | Feb 23, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Evan Kasper, 3, of Scarborough, takes a turn feeding Monax the woodchuck at the Coastal Children's Museum Feb. 20. The museum hosted the traveling natural history program — part of the Chewonki Foundation of Wiscasset.

Rockland — More than 30 youngsters enjoyed a fun-filled hour learning about animals at the Coastal Children's Museum Feb. 20.

Chewonki Foundation of Maine brought its traveling natural history program to the museum to teach attendees about animal adaptations and show them firsthand how they thrive in their habitat.

The program — designed for kindergarten through fifth grade — was presented by Jessica Woodent of the foundation. She exhibited and discussed a live corn snake and woodchuck, and was assisted by volunteers from the audience in showing off various paws, claws, and outer layers of animals.

Participants learned that Ella — the 4-foot-long corn snake — sheds her skin three times a year. They also found out she is not slimy feeling at all, and that her tongue is used to smell — it also tickles.

"She is so strong she can open her own box," said Woodent as she used a bungee cord to properly secure the creature in its resting place.

"We don't want any surprises," she exclaimed.

Children were encouraged to ask and answer questions about the animals, and even had the opportunity to feed a woodchuck — Monax — his lunch of kale.

The Chewonki Foundation began its traveling lessons in natural history 20 years ago, and are now guest educators to more than 20,000 students each year. Live animals and myriad teaching tools help students learn important lessons about the natural world and the conservation of life and resources on Earth, according to its website.

The event was sponsored by Mount Pleasant Dental Care of Rockport.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at

Allison Klinzing, 5, of Thomaston, takes a closer look at Ella the corn snake at the Coastal Children's Museum in Rockland Feb. 20. Various animals were shown and discussed as part of the traveling natural history program put on by the Chewonki Foundation of Maine. Holding the creature is presenter Jessica Woodent. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Volunteers help show off some of the outer layers various animals have during Chewonki Animal Adaptations Show at the Coastal Children's Museum Feb. 20. Leopard Nora, bird Maddie, polar bear Evelyn, and porcupine Maxwell assisted presenter Jessica Woodent in the show. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Jessica Woodent of Chewonki Foundation of Maine displays her corn snake Ella during the Animal Adaptations Show at Coastal Children's Museum Feb. 20. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Attendees volunteer to help show off the various paws and claws of animals during a show by Chewonki Foundation of Maine Feb. 20. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 24, 2014 05:19

Did you notice the sense of awe and expectation in the children's eyes? Seems like we all could use a trip to the Chewonki Foundation and learn how to how they "thrive in their habitat".  Just maybe we could do a bit better. :)  Great story!

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