Creatures featured at S.P. Morton Elementary School’s Science Night

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2022

For Science Night at S.P. Morton Elementary School, the Ponies and their parents were witnesses to four wonders of nature in the cafetorium. 

A Franklin City Public Schools news release noted that at the Sept. 26 event, those in attendance met a sea star, also known as a starfish; Waldo, a salamander; Biscuit, a mud turtle;  

and the appropriately named corn snake, Creamsicle. There to introduce this quartet of critters were Olivia Lacher and Cassie Letta, all from the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Lacher brought out each of the guests from their containers and spoke about them as she walked around, providing up-close views.

Judging by the many questions (“How does a sea star eat?”), numerous wide-eyed expressions on their faces and eagerness to touch, the audience of 139 people was impressed. One youngster even gave a lesson to his classmates about one of the animals. 

As much as the children and adults wanted to pet Waldo, Biscuit and even Creamsicle, they could not. Lacher pointed out each animal’s unique vulnerability and how touching could endanger them. She stressed that when confronted with wildlife outdoors, people should leave it alone and not risk either accidentally harming any animals or getting hurt themselves if the creatures lash out in self-defense.

When it came time for Creamsicle’s appearance, Lacher was quick to alert the audience of what was about to emerge from a large container. She stressed that the slithery snake was nonvenomous; that is, it could not bite and inject poison into their bodies. 

The program was organized by the Franklin City Public Schools Family Engagement Office, which is led by Tyron Riddick. He was assisted by 11 staff and faculty members, who handed out pizza, chips and drinks before the evening show.

The turnout and response were most gratifying to Riddick, who said, “It was excellent! If this was a glimpse of what’s to come (with Family Engagement programs), I think we are moving in the right direction.”

Riddick and company also organized a second Science Night, this one for the Mustangs of J.P. King Jr. Middle School and their parents. It took place Sept. 27.