By Chris Kieffer
MOOREVILLE – A taxidermic coyote and a bobcat posed in the front of Carol Rupert’s classroom at Mooreville Middle School.
Spread throughout the tables where students sat were a fox, quail and alligator snapping turtle, as well as various skulls and hides.
Rupert is using the animals, on loan from Jackie Russell of Artistic Taxidermy in Pontotoc, to teach her communication writing class about nature and also to encourage them to do more research.
“I want them to have an appreciation for nature and an appreciation of the things the good Lord in heaven has made for us to enjoy,” Rupert said.
The seventh-graders must use the Internet to properly identify the animals in front of them. They also must research three interesting facts about each. They will create a “critter chart” and illustrate an animal of their choice.
“We’re trying to get these kids to think,” she said.
The animals on display Wednesday were the third or fourth set from Artistic Taxidermy the class has used this year. They’ve kept each set for about three weeks. Past animals have included a snake, porcupine, river otter and rainbow trout, among others.
Rupert said they will continue to get different creatures throughout the year.
“It makes you want to come and see what there is, and it makes school more exciting,” said Hunter Parker, 13.
Classmate Austin Johnson, 12, said he has learned about habitats, what the animals eat and their different activities.
“It is fun to see the animals and how they look and learn facts about them,” said JoJo Morris, 13.