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Words, Monkeys, and Wolves… Oh My!

Sixth grade students recently finished a unit on the book, Pax, by Sara Pennypacker.  This moving novel tells the story of a fox and “his boy” and their bond that far reaches the miles between them.  Pax and Peter have been one another’s companions and depended upon each other since Pax was just a kit.  Now that Peter must go live with his grandfather, Pax is left behind in the woods, some 3000 miles away.  Upon arriving at his grandfather’s, Peter regrets the decision to leave Pax behind so he sets out to find Pax.  The story alternates between Peter and Pax’s perspectives while exploring how each is surviving without the other.  This book deals with love, loss, loyalty, and realizing one’s impact on the world.

To celebrate such an awesome reading experience, students were provided the opportunity to dig deeper and learn more about how animals interact and depend on their ecosystem.  Four amazing guests were invited to share their vast knowledge with our students.

Gwen and Jocelyn Landt of Edith Allen Wildlife Sanctuary brought along a few of their animals much to our students’ delight.  The Sanctuary serves to help protect and save the animals here on earth with us while educating the public about awareness, understanding, and the importance of saving these animals in need.

Lindsey Ebaugh, a herpetologist, provided our students with some very interesting facts on the differences between amphibians and reptiles.  Herpetology is a branch of zoology which specializes in the care and research of a wide variety of reptilian and amphibian species.

Also returning to BMS was Rob Gudger, wildlife biologist, along with one of his three wolves.  Mr. Gudger works to answer the many questions surrounding his beloved wolves by educating his audiences.  Students learned about the social and hunting behaviors of wolves, the importance of protecting wolves in their natural ecosystems, and conservation efforts focused on the wolf population.


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  • Bethel Middle School
  • Shawn Parris, Principal
  • 630 Sonoma Rd., Waynesville, NC 28786
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