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 Hanna’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.
“I have an animal science, veterinary technician background and my students complete a fairly extensive unit on animal science,” Jack said. “I also coach Envirothon teams that learn wildlife and environmental concerns as urbanization competes with natural ecosystems.”
She said the students who are able to attend are looking forward to the presentation.
“The students are excited about going and are anxious to get on the list to go,” Jack said. “Several wanted to go but will not because of football or cheerleader conflicts. Those going must be in my class and have no referrals.”
Jack said she believes the subject matter is vital to the students’ education.
“I think its important for us all to learn wildlife habits so that we may preserve their ecosystems and understand the natural balance that occurs,” 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.
“We have just finished learning about animals and their needs,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan said each student was able to choose an animal to do a research report on.
“We went to the computer lab and researched our animals,” Vaughan said. “They looked for information such as how the animal meets its needs, where it lives, what it eats and interesting facts about the animal.”
Vaughan said the students then wrote a report based on their individual research, bringing in pictures of their animals to add to the reports.
“This program will be a great way to reward the students for their hard work in the classroom,” Vaughan said. “They are hoping to possibly see the animal that they have researched.”
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 “Good Morning America” in 1983 following the birth of baby twin gorillas at the Columbus Zoo. In 1985 he was asked to be a guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and the two hit it off. He is now a guest on “The Late Show” several times a year. He has also made appearances on “Larry King Live,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Hollywood Squares,” “The Maury Show,” “Entertainment Tonight,” FOX News and CNN programs.
In 1993 Hanna became the host of “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures,” a nationally syndicated television series. In October of 2007 he began a new show, “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,” which shows Hanna and members of his family traveling the world looking for exotic animals. The show was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Series in 2008.
For more information visit http://www.jackhanna.com .