Exploring ‘oceans of possibilities’ at Westland Library

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
As residents of Galloway, Erin Heintz and her two children do not often get to see animals that are found living within a Tide Pool, but the family from the westside were recently able to get up close and personal with quite a few of them courtesy of the Southwest Public Libraries. On July 27, the Grove City Library and the Westland Area Library welcomed conservationists and animal ambassadors at the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky as they wrapped up their ocean-themed Summer Reading Challenge. “We wanted to bring programs that were fun and educational for the entire family and having representatives with the Newport Aquarium come here to present always delivers on both of those fronts,” said Jane Barnhart, the youth services team lead at the Westland Area Library. For close to an hour, Newport Aquarium conservation educators Daphne Schaaf and Jordan Zulli spoke to a crowd of more than 100 children and adults about the amazing animals found within Tide Pools, how they survive and adapt to their changing and hostile environments, and then supervised as the attendees got to touch hermit crabs, fighting conchs, sea urchins and a lively horseshoe crab named Mushroom. Shown here getting to touch a lively horseshoe crab is Erin Heintz and her children Evelyn, 4, and William, 6. Heintz said not only did her family have a great time learning about these fascinating animals, but they also had a great time participating in the Summer Reading Challenge that ran from June 4 through July 31. “That is always a fun time for us,” she said.
Justice Patrick, 9, touches a sea urchin at the Westland Area Library on July 27. The westside resident called the experience a bit weird. “I thought the spikes would move when I touched them,” she said, but they didn’t move at all.”
Newport Aquarium conservation educator Jordan Zulli poses with their popular hermit crab ambassador. Both Zulli and Schaaf are a part of the aquarium’s mobile Wave Foundation unit that travels to libraries and schools around the region. “It is nice to be able to bring these animals to places and people that may not get to experience them first hand otherwise,” said Zulli. In addition to the presentation from the Newport Aquarium, the SWPL also welcomed performances from The Alans Magic and Mentalism, Erica Carlson and Sedgewick the Live Hedgehog, and the Armstrong Air & Space Museum during the Summer Reading Challenge.
Newport Aquarium conservation educator Daphne Schaaf displays the exoskeleton of a horseshoe crab to a captivated audience.

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