Thanks to Animal Adventure Park, inspiration is running high at Beach Elementary School. The creative second and third graders of the school have launched a book on April the giraffe and baby Tajiri.
Visual arts teacher Vicki Burke, who was instrumental in making the children’s dream a reality, said that the making of April’s Baby was a life-changing experience.
“It was the kids who actually inspired me to be more faithful about watching the feed. I loved the way they excitedly told me all about the funny things April the giraffe did with the keepers. So, as I began watching the feed in earnest, I started noting some of the same things the kids were noticing,” said Burke, explaining the origin of the book project.
The children began drawing pictures of giraffe whenever they got free time.
“I amassed quite a collection of giraffe art. I knew I had to put a story to their drawings and turn their interest into a teachable lesson,” said Burke, who has been teaching arts for the past 20 years.
“This is the touching and humorous story of April’s journey to motherhood as seen through the eyes and art of my second and third graders. My hope is that my students will always treasure this project and look back on the whole experience and smile,” she said.
Burke’s art class consists of enthusiastic 8- and 9-year-olds, some of whom saw a giraffe for the first time.
“I’m used to just farm animals and don’t get to go to the zoo a lot. I’ve never seen a giraffe until Ms. Burke showed it up on the screen,” said 8-year-old Daisy.
For children like Meloday, Braden, Linden, Ava, Emma, and Austin, watching April the giraffe on a live cam was both entertaining and educational. The live cam served as their muse. Illustrating a book on April and her baby helped them discover interesting facts about giraffes. The children said they learned about the dwindling giraffe population and that there is a need to conserve these beautiful creatures.
“I learned how tall they were and how big they were and that the population of giraffes is going down,” said Elliana, a 9-year-old.
Junior, an 8-year-old student, said that he needs more animal cams, especially for endangered animals.
“Because if we do that, it will help people know more about these animals and help them make a comeback,” he said.
Paige, a 9-year-old giraffe lover, shared a similar view.
“I think we need more animal cameras so we can see how they are doing, and we can at least see them now because someday they won’t be here if we don’t help them,” she said.
Nine-year-old Amaya, who did the cover for April’s Baby, said that drawing April and baby Tajiri was a fun experience.
“It was really fun because I never really published a book. I got to learn about a giraffe. We would look at the camera and see what April does and then Ms. Burke would say may be we could draw this and then draw a whole bunch of pictures of what April does.”
Ally, who is passionate about art, said she was excited to draw the part where April is leaning over and humming to her baby.
“I also worked on the book’s last page where it says, ‘The End.’ I figured that it would be fun once I am done, and it was fun to draw them because I like to draw,” said Ally.
The whole April phenomenon was an eye-opener for parents too.
Tonya Lee Barger, a parent, said that the April craze was kind of cool.
“I think it may have educated my child a little and me as well. I found out that giraffes are endangered. I am so far removed from what is going on in the world and just focused on my family’s needs I did not know that. My kids didn’t realize that giraffes live in Africa and we have learned about a few other animals as well because of this,” said Barger.
Amy Smith, Jacob’s mother, said her son has talked a lot about conservation and what everyone can do to help the giraffe population.
Jordan Patch, the owner of Animal Adventure Park, has promised more live cams. Hopefully, those too would serve as an inspiration to many children.
[Featured Image by Animal Adventure Park]