Olive Porter (foreground) and Phyllis Rollag listen to second-grader Lucy Baker read the book she created about jaguars at Regency on Whidbey. Second-grade students at Oak Harbor Elementary School picked animals at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, researched them and created hard-cover books and dioramas, which they shared with Regency residents Wednesday. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Olive Porter (foreground) and Phyllis Rollag listen to second-grader Lucy Baker read the book she created about jaguars at Regency on Whidbey. Second-grade students at Oak Harbor Elementary School picked animals at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, researched them and created hard-cover books and dioramas, which they shared with Regency residents Wednesday. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor elementary students bring zoo to Regency

Second grader Emma Ritter can confidently tell you that flamingos are pink because they eat so many shrimp. Lilah Savin could also give fun facts about giraffes, her favorite animal since she was a baby.

Oak Harbor Elementary School second graders gladly shared their extensive animal knowledge Wednesday afternoon with the attentive audience at Regency on Whidbey. Each student chose an animal that resides at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, researched that animal and then made both a diorama and hard-cover book about it, according to teacher Nicole Ritter.

The children then got to visit their critters at the zoo and return to Oak Harbor to present their expertise at Regency.

“I think this is really nice,” said resident Patricia Johnson.

“It’s been a real pleasure.”

Eliana Henry said her favorite part was creating the 19- to 20-page book that includes hand-drawn illustrations and facts about each animal. Through her research, Henry said she was most surprised to learn ocelots had been kept as pets.

This year marked the second time the school has done the presentations at Regency, Ritter said. The entire class at OHE participates in the month-long project. The trip to the retirement and assisted living facility capped the effort and was meant to bring the children out into the community.

“I love this part,” said teacher Cianna Curran, standing among the children as they were busy reading their books and showing off their dioramas.

“The kids do very well,” resident Phyllis Rolag said. “I enjoy listening.”

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