Students observing a corn snake that the WNC Nature Center brought to show students at the school

Hominy Valley Elementary had a unique visitor on January 6, 2023. A staff member from the WNC Nature  Center came to the school to give a hands-on, and up close interaction with one of the inhabitants of the nature center - a corn snake. 

First graders are learning about animal habitats, and what better way to learn than from an expert themselves? 

“I have the greatest job in the world,” said Outreach Education Program Manager Tori Duval. “I get to see kids connect with animals, and I get to connect them with the nature that is in their backyard.”

Teachers at Hominy Valley are always looking for engaging ways to bring learning to life for their students, especially when a live animal is involved. 

“We find that it is very beneficial for students to learn in many ways,” said first grade teacher Stephanie Boyd. “Having examples of information and matching an animal with a location you know about brings the real world to the students’ level. And seeing the snake and having an opportunity to see how the snake is ‘built’ to survive in its habitat was a huge bonus.”

Ms. Duval feels strongly about teaching others about the importance of animal habitats and ways to protect those habitats. 

“If people don’t know why they should protect the different habitats in our area then it will have a significant impact on our wildlife,” she said. “Every animal and habit is essential to our ecosystem.”

Student looking at the corn snake.