By ANGIE CARNATHAN
The College of Veterinary Medicine kicks off its two-day Pegasus Gala this weekend with a performance by renowned animal expert Jack Hanna. Hanna will show his rare and exotic animals to Starkville-area school children Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the CVM auditorium. The show is part of the Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series sponsored by Nestle Purina. Hanna will sign autographs in the lobby after the show from 3-4 p.m.
Several area school teachers said they will use Hannaâ€™s show as an opportunity for learning. One such teacher is Linda Jack, who teaches 10-12th grade agriscience, agriculture and natural resources at Millsaps Career and Technology Center in Starkville.
â€śI have an animal science, veterinary technician background and my students complete a fairly extensive unit on animal science,â€ť Jack said. â€śI also coach Envirothon teams that learn wildlife and environmental concerns as urbanization competes with natural ecosystems.â€ť
She said the students who are able to attend are looking forward to the presentation.
â€śThe students are excited about going and are anxious to get on the list to go,â€ť Jack said. â€śSeveral wanted to go but will not because of football or cheerleader conflicts. Those going must be in my class and have no referrals.â€ť
Jack said she believes the subject matter is vital to the studentsâ€™ education.
â€śI think its important for us all to learn wildlife habits so that we may preserve their ecosystems and understand the natural balance that occurs,â€ť Jack said.
Another area teacher who is using the show as a learning tool is Lisa Vaughan, a fourth grade science teacher at Starkville Academy. Vaughan is in her 11th year teaching at the school and said they are all very excited about the show.
â€śWe have just finished learning about animals and their needs,â€ť Vaughan said.Â
Vaughan said each student was able to choose an animal to do a research report on.Â
â€śWe went to the computer lab and researched our animals,â€ť Vaughan said. â€śThey looked for information such as how the animal meets its needs, where it lives, what it eats and interesting facts about the animal.â€ť
Vaughan said the students then wrote a report based on their individual research, bringing in pictures of their animals to add to the reports.Â
â€śThis program will be a great way to reward the students for their hard work in the classroom,â€ť Vaughan said. â€śThey are hoping to possibly see the animal that they have researched.â€ť
Hanna is the director emeritus at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, a position he has held since 1992.
He began his career with animals by getting a job cleaning cages for his family veterinarian when he was only 11.
Later, in 1978, Hanna was named director of the Columbus Zoo. His first televised appearance was on â€śGood Morning Americaâ€ť in 1983 following the birth of baby twin gorillas at the Columbus Zoo. In 1985 he was asked to be a guest on â€śThe Late Show with David Lettermanâ€ť and the two hit it off. He is now a guest on â€śThe Late Showâ€ť several times a year. He has also made appearances on â€śLarry King Live,â€ť â€śThe Ellen DeGeneres Show,â€ť â€śHollywood Squares,â€ť â€śThe Maury Show,â€ť â€śEntertainment Tonight,â€ť FOX News and CNN programs.
In 1993 Hanna became the host of â€śJack Hannaâ€™s Animal Adventures,â€ť a nationally syndicated television series.Â In October of 2007 he began a new show, â€śJack Hannaâ€™s Into the Wild,â€ť which shows Hanna and members of his family traveling the world looking for exotic animals. The show was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Childrenâ€™s Series in 2008.
For more information visit http://www.jackhanna.com.