Some fourth-grade students at Centre Hall Elementary School took a virtual field trip last week, getting up an up-close look at Pennsylvania’s elk herd.
Angela Homan’s fourth-graders used Skype, a computer program that allows users to video chat, to connect with the Elk County Visitor’s Center.
The center’s educational coordinator, Barbara Kurtz, shared information about the large animals, which can grow up to 1,000 pounds, and about their history in Pennsylvania.
Elk once roamed freely across much of the state, but hunting and habitat loss due to rapid settlement caused the animals to disappear by 1867, according to the state Game Commission.
But in the 1910s, the Game Commission began reintroducing elk in the state. Rocky mountain elk were brought to Pennsylvania by train after the native elk became extinct, the students learned.
The herd now numbers around 800 and Elk County is home to the largest elk herd in the Northeast, according to the center’s website.
Penns Valley officials said on the district’s website that the elementary students were surprised to learn that tracking collars put on the animals when they are calves stretch as the elk grow, and then fall off.
As part of the Pennsylvania history lesson, students also received the “Elk Traveling Trunk,” which contains antlers, hides and other educational pieces.
“The elk trunk allowed the class to touch antlers and see how large an elk track is in comparison with a white tail deer,” according to the district website.
Dine out for a good cause
The East Penns Valley Friends of the Library will host their annual spaghetti dinner to benefit the library Feb. 16.
Greta Haney said the Friends group has been holding the dinner since 1987 to help the library, which offers programming for children, teens and adults.
The dinner is set for 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Aaronsburg Civic Center on state Route 45. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children age 6 to 10. Children younger than 5 eat for free. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Library Fund.