Introduction to an MAS Intern

I’m Russell Wilson, an undergraduate Biology major at UMass. I’ve always had a passion for animals which is what brought me to the MAS. I met the parrot Doc outside my lab during the year and I volunteered to help out with taking care of the office pets. Soon after I discovered that a main goal of the MAS is outreach, which was a perfect fit with a project I had in mind, a project about animals and outreach.

My mother, sisters and I used to have an interactive demonstration called the “Animal Road Show”. We took pieces of taxidermy to show young children, about 6 to 10 years old, the different adaptations animals have. The children were encouraged to ask questions about the pieces, as well as given the opportunity to hold them. The pieces we show are incredibly diverse. Just a few examples are a crocodile skull, impala hide, fossilized dinosaur eggs, a shark jaw collection, and baleen from a whale. In total we have close to 100 different pieces. We have done our show at summer camps, schools, and local learning programs.

My goal is to restart the Animal Road Show as a teaching tool for young kids. I hope to kindle an interest in science and animals by giving students the opportunity to see and touch animals they may never see otherwise. The best part of doing these shows in the past was seeing the excitement when we pulled a skull or hide out of a box to show the audience. It is very satisfying to see an entire class smile when they get to be a part of the show and touch the pieces.
If you would like more information about the Animal Road Show, feel free to email me at russellw@student.umass.edu with any questions you have.

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