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Valley Focus | Pacoima

Students Get Closer Look at Animal Life

April 18, 1998|ERIC RIMBERT

More than 60 children from four elementary schools oohed and ahhed at the sight of animals visiting the Japanese-American Community Center.

The students came from four area elementary schools, including Coldwater Canyon, Arminta and Fair Avenue in North Hollywood and Los Feliz in Los Angeles, to learn how animals adapt to their environment.

The critters were visiting as part of the Zoomobile, a traveling educational presentation put on by the Los Angeles Zoo.

"For many of these children it's the first time they have been in contact with these kinds of animals," said Lila Silvern, director of the Emergency Immigrant English Program.

The program, which rents space from the community center, teaches English during a three-week school break to students attending year-round schools.

"This program is also a way for the kids to see another side of the city."

To qualify, the children must have been born outside the United States and speak a language other than English.

"We're trying to show the children how animals change themselves to survive," said Don Gere, assistant curator for the Los Angeles Zoo.

By learning English, the children are adapting, too, he said.

On Friday Gere separated the children into groups of 15 and led them to a show-and-tell table with an opossum, a black widow and a snake.

"Don't be too loud or you'll scare the animals," he said.

However, Nancy Perez, 10, from Arminta Elementary, was more worried about the animals scaring her, especially the black widow and the snake.

"Can I go to the bathroom so I can scream?"

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