Girl Scouts from Troop 20104, 20277 and 20158 from Dunkirk and Fredonia traveled to the Cleveland Zoo to attend the Rising Waters African Safari Camp Father's Day weekend. The Safari Camp is an African-themed overnight adventure. Campers sleep in the Zoo's African Savanna. The Savanna is made up of six weather-resistant tents that will sleep up to eight campers in bunk beds. The campground is also equipped with a huge pavilion for crafts, activities, snacks and meals and a huge fire pit for making s'mores.
The program combines elements of African culture with conservation-oriented activities and a visit with some of the zoos smaller African animals, a barn owl, snake and a hedgehog. The girls asked questions and were able to touch the animals. The girls learned that the language spoken in Africa is Swahili and even learned the pronunciation and meaning of a few words.
The girls were then led by their highly educated counselors (some were zoologists) to the elephant section of the savanna for a workshop on these animals. They learned that the elephant is the largest living land mammal and has a unique trunk and tusks that no other animal has. The trunk contains more than 40,000 muscles and is capable of both great strength and great dexterity. The trunk can grow up to 7 feet in length. The elephant also has enormous ears that it flaps back and forth as a threat display, or to cool its body. Elephants usually live in herds of related females and their offspring. The herd is lead by an elderly female. The males usually live apart by themselves or in all-male herds.
First row: Kahea Wojcinski, Madison Wojcinski, Sammi Gifford, Jacinda Jackson, Leah Tomaszewski, Tenela Hadley, Parent Volunteer Shari Miller, Lauren Miller and Robyn Banach. Second row: Angel Catalano, Leader Connie Wojcinski, Lindsey Dloniak, Assistant Leader Jackie Dloniak, Isabella Beiger, Parent Volunteer Alicia Wiedenhofer, Mallory Wojcinski and Jessica Jackson. Missing from photo: Julia Parades, Anna Parades, Nataley Giodano and Leader Donna Banach.
The girls also learned that this animal has very poor eyesight. Due to their poor eyesight they are perfect targets for poachers that target their ivory tusks. Elephants are known as a highly intelligent animals - they mourn the death of their loved ones.
After completing the workshop, the girls returned to camp and made a simple craft that replicated basket weaving. Later they enjoyed snacks and made s'mores around the fire pit. When it was finally dark enough, they were led on a night hike around the zoo using night vision goggles. It was very interesting to observe these animals after dark. After the hike, they returned to camp and got ready for a good night's sleep.
Counselors woke everyone at 7 a.m. and directed all participants to dress, put all their belongings in our vehicles, eat breakfast and be prepared for a morning of activities. The first stop was to see Mufasa, king of the jungle. He eyed the scouts, climbed out on a rock, stretched and strutted his stuff, and then all at once he roared to wish them a good morning. Next, the scouts were led across the way to the rainforest exhibit to learn about other animals, birds and their habitats. The program concluded at 10 a.m. and the counselors provided everyone with wristbands that allowed the girls, leaders and parents to enjoy both the zoo and rainforest for the entire day.
When asked about the best part of this trip, Robyn Banach said, "I really liked having the whole zoo to ourselves and observing the animals while it was quiet. I also loved seeing the baby animals, the koala bears and being with my Girl Scouts friends!"
This adventure was organized by Girls Scout Leader Connie Wojcinski. To learn more about Girl Scouting or to join the Girl Scouts, contact Denise Beeles-Johnson at 1-888-837-6410 or 665-2225 or visit htpp://www.gswny.org.