Here's more from the fourth graders' interview with another Critter Camp teacher:
How long do you think you will still have Critter Camp?
We hope to have it for a long time. As long as teachers and our principal keep supporting the program.
How many total animals do you care for?
It depends, sometimes we have more and sometimes just a few, it all depends on what the ARL needs help with and what we have space for. At one time last year we had a mom and 6 baby bunnies in one room, another bunny, 2 rats and 2 guinea pigs.
Where do you have the animals - how do you find the space?
The animals live in our classrooms. Each teacher gets to choose what type of animals they will foster and then they also need to decide how much space they have before they choose. Bunnies take up more space, and are a bit more work, so we usually only have one teacher that takes bunnies. Most of the pets have a small cage so it is pretty easy to make room for them. We do want to make sure they are happy, so sometimes we give up some of our free space so they can have more room.
Do you have jobs for the students?
Each teacher does it differently, but yes the students take most of the responsibility. Especially our older students. The 4 graders helped clean the cages, play with and socialize the animals and feed them. In Ms. Johnson's class we had 2-3 "Critter Camp Counselors" each day who were in charge of care for the pet that day.
Do teachers and students care for the animals?
Do you take turns feeding the animals?
It depends on the teacher, some teachers feed them early in the morning before the students come, so they are ready to play and hang out with their friends as soon as they arrive. Others have the students feed them.
What foods do the animals eat?
They eat special food for whatever animal they are, just like dogs and cats have dog food and cat food. Our critters have special food for them. Most of them also love to eat fruits and veggies!
How do you play with the animals? (toys, tunnels, things to run around)
It depends on the animals, but our rats are super fun! They love to climb on and be carried around by the students. They like to hang out in pockets and hoods of your sweatshirts. They like to climb on ropes and the side of their cages too. Guinea pigs like tunnels and just to be held or let run around on the floor. For our bunnies we like to make toys for them. They love to climb on boxes run through tunnels, jump around, play with toys, and some like to be held. Most bunnies just like to play and lie down by you. Our bunnies really like toilet paper tubes that we cut into toys, and other fun creations out of cardboard that our students make. Our birds like to hang out on their perches and some will ring the bells or play with the hanging toys.H