About Us

Welcome to our Critter Camp blog.
Windsor Elementary 4th Grade and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa are partnering to create "Critter Camp". The 4th grade classrooms will be caring for small animals from the ARL that are in need of foster care until they are ready for adoption. This blog will share about our foster critters' progress and their search for their forever home.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Critter Camp" Student Counselor Daily Updates

We were sad when Winter left but we were happy that she got a wonderful family! We got 2 crazy=) animals Casper and Cleo! This morning Cleo got out of her cage and was laying right in front of the cage right next to Casper but she was OUT! When Ms.Johnson peeked in the door she was surprised that she got out but don't worry she caught her! We are going to get a bigger cage soon maybe! Well that's our new pets if you have any questions ask below! Also if you want to come see them come down=)

Our class misses Winter but at the same time we are happy for her. Winter has been with us for a long time, but we are happy for her.  We got new ones they are cool, they are named Casper and Cleo.  Ms. Johnson told us a story about how Cleo got out.  It was FUNNY!

Casper and Cleo like to be by each other.  They would rather be by each other then play with their toys unlike winter, she loved to play with her toys.  They rather be in the kennel.  I bet if you put them apart they will find each other.


The bunny that has darker ears is Cleo and the one that has lighter ears is Casper.


Cleo has a dark spot you can see if she lays down.


We all love Bubbles so much!  If you pet her near her rear end, she will squeak.  She also might pee on you.  She used to sleep and be afraid of all the noise.  Now she is always out and about.  Even though someone might adopt her, we will never forget the best little guinea pig in the world.


Bubbles is doing great.  She is eating food and drinking water as as usual, just being happy.  She's built a little nest out of hay.  She is always romping around having fun.  We recently cleaned her cage and I think she loves it.  If when someone is holding her you stick your finger by her mouth she will nibble you.  Her eyes twinkle in the light.


Bubbles has been a great class pet.  Sometimes we get Bubbles out of her cage and someone gets to hold her and carry her around the room and play with her.

--Eh Wah

Bubbles is a fat guinea pig.  She pees sometimes.  She moves her box in front of her little hide out spot. She is getting kind of used to us.


Introducing Casper and Cleo

Ms. Johnson's classroom would like to introduce our newest campers.  Casper and Cleo joined us yesterday afternoon and are settling in nicely.  They are 8-9 months old and are bonded bunnies.  That means they will need to be adopted together.  Here are a few pictures from their first day.  They are very active, so it is hard to catch them standing still long enough to get good pictures.

Apparently Cleo needs to be half in the basket to get the good hay.

Cleo snacking

Casper was a tired bunny by the end of the day.

These bunnies are MUCH more active, it is hard to get a good picture.

Casper and Cleo relaxing.

They like to hang out near each other when they nap.

Cookie and Cream

Cookie and Cream are very fun rats to hold and play with. However, there are some new and exciting things happening in Mr. Buyck’s classroom. The 4th graders will soon learn how give a “rat bath!” Also over the course of the last few weeks, we have learned through observations and research that rats are very smart and capable of learning tricks! Stay tuned for pictures and videos on these exciting new happenings for the rat brothers!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Great Day KCWI-23

Even though the weather cancelled school for us today, it didn't cancel our appearance on Great Day with Lou, Jackie and Jason.  Georgia, Kennedy, Anders and Ms. Johnson were at the KCWI studio bright and early to share about our Critter Camp and Campers.  If you watched, you also probably saw a debut from one of the rat brothers Cookie.  Cream was happy to hang out and watch while Cookie stole the show.  We will try to post the video as soon as we get it.

Anders, Kennedy and Georgia at the Great Day Studio

Anders, Kennedy and Georgia giving Cookie and Cream a pep talk before we went on.

Anders watching Jason Parkin do the weather.  He loved seeing the "Green Screen"

Kennedy and Georgia watching the camera crew and the filming.

We have our microphones hooked up and we are ready to be stars!

Anders, Kennedy and Georgia with Cookie and Cream

Why You Should Adopt Rats

If a family with kids adopted our rats, it would teach them how to be responsible. – Emma

Cookie and Cream and other rats make for good pets because they are cute and cuddly. They will bring a family closer together. Also rats are very easy to take care of and they are very quiet. –Kyla

Rats are awesome pets! I had rats in 2013 and they were so cuddly! Please adopt these awesome rats and give them a good home! -Alex

Here are a couple reasons that rats make great household pets- Dylan
--They are easy to care for.
--Rats are fun to play with.
--Rats teach you how to be responsible.
--They are fun to watch.
--They are funny.

Preparing for our next Campers!

We will miss Winter, but we were excited to hear about our next campers.  Our goal is to help these pets find their forever home, and we are succeeding.  Ms. Johnson's class will be starting round 2 with a pair of bonded bunnies.  We spent Wednesday cleaning and getting ourselves ready for our new friends.

Here are some pictures of our two bunnies that will be joining us hopefully on Monday.  Welcome to Critter Camp.  Stay tuned for more about them!


Our First Camper Goes HOME!!!!

While Winter was lounging and enjoying her MLK holiday, the ARL and Ms. Johnson were emailing back and forth finalizing her adoption.  A wonderful family with a dark grey bunny named Willow has welcomed Winter into their family.  The two bunnies are quickly becoming friends.  

Students and staff got to say their good byes and wish Winter well on Tuesday before Ms. Johnson took her back to the ARL to meet her forever family.  The class wrote letters to Winter's new family and shared all about what we love and have learned about her.  
WInter in her kennel all wrapped up to stay warm for her journey to her forever home.
Yesterday we got an email with a picture from Winter's new family, it said:

Here's Winter meeting my other rabbit, Willow. She is such a sweetheart. Munches up veggies like she hasn't had anything to eat for days! Read the letters from the kids, most of them mentioned her binkies, I can't wait to see them. She's getting comfortable in her own cage with different levels to climb, and blankets and toys to throw around. I'll try to send some pictures later on after she's settled in.

Winter and her new sister Willow getting to know each other.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter's MLK Day

It is so quiet in here today, all the students are home and celebrating MLK Day.  Winter is spending her holiday relaxing, but was excited to have Mrs. Wilken, our music teacher, visit her today and share a special treat.  Only hanging out with Ms. Johnson on the weekends is okay, but she is excited to see her favorite students tomorrow after a long holiday weekend.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mark your Calendar!

This coming Thursday, January 23rd, we will be on KCWI  Channel 23 Great Day in the Morning.  We are supposed to be on around 7:20, so make sure to watch us! We will post pictures and more about this cool opportunity after we get back!

Taking Responsibility

This past week the students learned how much responsibility it takes to care for a pet.  Students learned how to feed, water, clean, and change Winter's litter box.

Jayden and Lydell preparing Winter's clean litter box

Learning teamwork even in cleaning Winter's pen.
Jayden checking to make sure he didn't miss something.
The girls learning how much responsibility it is to have a pet.
Jessica cleaning around the litter box.

Ikra making sure Winter's home is tidy.
Ikra and Jessica Cleaning up Winter's Spilled Hay (her new favorite thing to do)
We have very organized cleaners :)

WInter checking out her nicely cleaned and meticulously organized pen.

Adoption Information

Click here for information on adopting Winter.

Click here and here for information on adopting Cookie and Cream.

"Critter Camp" Student Counselor Daily Updates

Our rat brothers Cookie and Cream, have become very playful animals. They love each other like best friends. Both of them have very strong arms to climb up the cage. Cookie and Cream are great pets and friends. 

Our classroom rats are wonderful. We have had them about 2 weeks. They are getting used to us now. They are brothers and they are so cute when they play together. 

Winter is a loving bunny and is very good at her litter box training! You can pet her more now, but only with permission.  She loves Romaine lettuce and parsley. --Cristina

It was really fun I got to talk about Winter on camera. Me and one of the men got into a argument about football. He said the HAWKEYES are beater than the CYCLONES. Today I was in the pen with Winder and I grabbed some hay and fed it to her, and she ate it.  I think she likes me! --Abdisalan

Winnie loves to play with toys once you give her a toys she will not give it back. She loves to go in the cardboard box.  --Sean

Winnie really likes to play with her toys.

When I helped clean today, I learned that bunnies are a big responsibility.

Bubbles is doing fine.  We get her out a lot.  Bubbles is eating a lot, so we think she is pregnant.  We all felt her tummy and I think there are little feet kicking.  We got in a circle and Bubbles ran around.  She nibbles as much as she pees, maybe more. --Liberty

Bubbles is so cute, she's more than likely pregnant.  She is drinking lots of water and eating plenty of food. She seems to be getting larger every day.  She's made a little nest out of grass.  She is a good girl!  --Bennett

Bubbles was out a lot today.  She had plenty of loving times with all of us.  She has been a great class foster pet.  We think she's gotten used to us enough that she will squeak when we call her name. We do think she is pregnant.  If she loves you, she will pee on you.  --Callie

DMPS Communications Staff Visits

Click Here for a slide show of some of the pictures they took. Click here for our flickr page with more photos.

Our Des Moines Public Schools Communication Staff came to visit today to learn more about our project.  Students in all 3 classrooms shared about their pets and what this program means to them, the ARL, and our "Critter Campers".

They also wrote a great article about the program.  They took lots of video and photos, so stay tuned from more from them in the next week.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Critter Camp" Student Counselor Daily Updates

Winter is a very lovable bunny. Winter likes to hang out in her box and exercise pen. She likes lettuce, green bell peppers, and parsley. She is used to having kids in her exercise pen. I think whoever adopts her will be very happy they did.  Even though we will miss her, we know she will be happy in her new home.

Yesterday was awesome, I got to talk about Winter and how she is doing. And I got to get on TV.  The camera girl ask me some questions of how she is doing.  It was a nice interview.
--Training (Trey)

It was fun getting interviewed by the news but it was kinda weird. I hope Winter gets a home she really deserves one, and when she gets one she will be the best pet you could ever have!

Bubbles is the best!  We love getting her out and petting her.  She pees sometimes, but we love her.  We hate putting her back in her cage because she is soooo cute.  We don't want anyone to adopt her, but we know that we will help her and wish the best for her and who adopts her.  She is a little shy right now but is getting used to us each day. Adopt her!

Bubbles has been happy since we got her out.  She squeaks when she's very happy.  Bubbles sometimes pees when she is out, but we don't mind it.  We have had her for 1 week.  She has one stripe on her right side, and she has a very sweet tongue.
--Hei Klay

Today Bubbles has been feeling happy.  Bubbles is getting used to us.  We got to hold her, and some people got a little pee on them.  Bubbles eats a lot of food.  She always plays with her balls.  She sometimes roams around in her cage.  She squeaks very loudly, which means she is happy.  She sometimes also itches herself.  She got worn out today, so we put her back in her cage.

Check back tomorrow for more updates.

On the News!

Click here for more Information from their website.

Monday, January 13, 2014

We're Famous!

Olivia sharing about Cookie and Cream and our partnership with the ARL.

Lydell and Trey talking about Winter and our Critter Camp.

Our friend, Courtney Johns, from WHO-TV 13 came to visit today. She interviewed Ms. Johnson, and 3 students to learn more about "Critter Camp" and our foster animals. Watch us tonight at 6:00!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Adorable and Adoptable!

As much as we are loving our critter campers, our mission and primary focus is on preparing them for, and helping find them a forever home. Please consider Winter or Cookie and Cream if you are looking to add a new family member or two. If you are interested in adopting, please contact us on our page, leave a comment, or contact the Animal Rescue League by clicking the link on our page or clicking here: http://www.arl-iowa.org
See below for more information on our adorable adoptables!

Our rabbit, Winter, is a 10 month old spayed New Zealand mix. She is sweet, silly, and doing amazing with litterbox training. She has settled right into the craziness of a classroom, so would be great in a home with kids.

Our rats, Cookie and Cream, are "Bonded Buddies" meaning they will need to be adopted together. They are about 10 weeks old and are very social. They have been held quite a bit and are getting more outgoing everyday.

Our Guinea Pig, Bubbles, is not available quite yet. She will be on hold for a few more weeks to be sure she isn't pregnant, but keep her in mind if you are looking for a great Guinea pig! 

Bubbles meets 2nd Graders

Mr. Israel teaching 2nd graders about Bubbles.
Paw Eh petting Bubbles
Jimmy making friends with Bubbles.
Mrs. Heemskerk's second graders came down to visit and learn about our different animals.  They especially liked visiting and learning about Bubbles.  The best part was getting to pet her on the way out.

Winter gets a Visit from 1st Grade

Training, Jordan, Jayden and Olivia presenting.

Training, Jordan, Jayden and Olivia answering questions.
Mrs. Cowman's first grade class came down on Friday to learn about Winter.  They are researching animals for their writing project.  A few fourth grade students presented Winter, shared all about her, and answered lots of questions.  They were a very knowledgeable group of presenters.  They have learned so much in a few short days, and loved sharing it all with this inquisitive class.