It’s been quite a year for Local Outreach, and Cortney and I are sad to see it end. We had an exemplary semester, though, and we’re grateful for every student we had the opportunity to meet.

Though teaching as Naturalist is an incredible experience in and of itself, Cortney and I had the additional opportunity and blessing to be a part of LO. We were the visiting entertainers, the exotic change to the routine of a classroom; most of the time, the kiddos treated us like celebrities.

It was a gift to see their joy and excitement, and it was a gift to visit them simply because we wanted to bring knowledge and appreciation of Creation.

We ended the 2015-2016 with a bang; last week Tuesday, we visited both the MUSC Children’s Hospital and the Oakland Elementary parent/student discovery night. At Oakland, we had a booth to display and talk about some of our amphibians and reptiles. Other featured groups included the Center for Birds of Prey, Boeing, the College of Charleston Marine Biology touch tank, and Clemson’s agricultural team. Needless to say, Cort and I were honored to be among such company.

At MUSC, we were stationed in the Children’s Atrium, a huge and fantastic room designed specifically for the kids. There are crafts, books, games, musical instruments, and everything else imaginable to engage and entertain.

Even the youngest of the patients were brave when we brought out our snakes, turtle, frog, and gator. Some were old enough to ask fairly scientific questions, but most just enjoyed checking out the critters. We’re grateful to have been able to brighten their days a bit, and we’re excited that LO will be visiting again next year.

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Wrapping up the year, we’re looking forward to LO expanding further in the future. We’ve reached exponentially more schools this year than ever before: we visited 18 schools, 2 day cares, and a handful of other school-related events. If our efforts continue to bear fruit, next year will continue to break records.

It’s been nothing short of a joy to visit the schools of the greater Charleston area.

Thank you, and God bless.