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We Are Nature Heroes!

By: Marygrace Knight, APNEP
August 17, 2015

Rhana and Beau the American alligator

Rhana and her sidekick Beau make a great education duo!

Here at APNEP, we like to consider ourselves heroes… Nature Heroes, that is!

This summer, APNEP is proud to partner with the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island to support a program for local libraries called "We are Nature Heroes!: Successes and Challenges in Endangered Species Restoration.” This program focuses on two animal species that have been successfully removed from the Endangered Species List—alligators and ospreys—and one that is currently on the Endangered Species List: sea turtles.

Rhana Paris, the outreach coordinator for the aquarium, delivers a fun and engaging presentation about the lifecycles of the three animals and their habitats in the Albemarle-Pamlico watersheds.  An APNEP grant makes these presentations much more affordable for the 23 local libraries that hosted an event.

According to the catchy tune Rhana taught the group, animals “have to have a habitat to carry on!” In addition to her savvy song styles, Rhana also brought along myriad show-and-tell items ranging from animal skeletons and hides to a live, 3-year-old American alligator named Beau! Through this demonstration, the participants learned how the osprey, alligator and sea turtles' habitats have been impaired and what has and can be done to rescue these animals from the Endangered Species List.

Rhana suggests that by making good choices upstream, we can help maintain healthy ecosystems downstream for these animals. Some of these heroic choices might include turning off the water while brushing your teeth, unplugging your phone charger when it's not in use or by installing a water-saving device in your toilet. Many participants signed a pledge saying they will be "Nature Heroes" by striving to make more eco-friendly choices in their daily routines.

The daycares, schools, summer camps and families that attended all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to learn about and interact with the animals. Many thanks to Rhana for using her tremendous talents and resources to put on such an awesome program!

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