Monday, September 18, 2017

The Great Panda Rescue Chapter 3 - Fiction STEM Interactive Reader

The Great Panda Rescue - Chapter 3

After the movie and question and answer period, the class went back outside
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti
and lined up in five groups of four – with one parent in each group.
Emma stood in front of the five open-air safari vehicles they’d be taking and held her hand up for all of us to be quiet.
“Notebooks and pencils are all you can take on our adventures. Please make sure no one has any food or drinks with them. That can be very dangerous. Animals are extremely sensitive. One whiff of a cookie and they can come charging. Also, no cell phones or cameras as they frighten the animals and again – they are wild and can come charging.”
Perry Knibbs was the smallest person in the class and he was a bit of a worrier. Claire thought he was going to grow up to be a golfer because the only thing he ever wore, rain or shine, cold or hot, were shorts and colored polo shirts.  “Are you sure this is safe Emma?” he asked. “I don’t know if I trust no one has food.”
“It will be fine,” Mr. Potts said.
“We do this every day,” Emma said. “Haven’t lost anyone yet.”
“Yet,” mumbled Perry. “I hate that word.”
“I hate it when people say things like that,” Julia said. “Quit jinxing us Perry.”
“Sit between me and Veronica and you’ll be fine,” Claire said as they boarded
The Great Panda Rescue
the vehicles. The three sat in the raised back seat.
“Seat belt’s tight, hands and arms and every other body part for that matter – must stay in the vehicle at all time,” Emma said.
Emma was their driver and Claire felt special to be chosen especially to ride with her.
“Remember everyone,” Mr. Potts said loudly. “Two facts about each animal habitat and animal and please note which animals and how many you spot. Hint – working as a team would prove very beneficial in this situation.”
The vehicles took off in different directions. Claire and Julia’s group saw the South China Tiger, four elephants, two rhinos, a mountain gorilla and six grizzly bears. They headed to the giant panda habitat last.
Claire could hardly breath as they pulled up to the dense grove of bamboos and began an ascent up mountainous-like terrain. Emma seemed to sense her excitement and looked back and smiled.
“And now the pandas,” she seemed excited too. “Keep your eyes open; because, sometimes they are difficult to spot. They tell us to tell you that pandas can be loners unless it’s mating season. They mark their territory and stay put.”
“Eating and eating and eating,” Julia mumbled.
“That is exactly right,” Emma said as she carefully pulled off the main road into the bamboo forest. “Anyone know how big giant panda’s can get?”
Everyone in the vehicle looked at Claire.
“Five feet tall and they can weight up to 250 or 300 pounds,” Claire spoke softly.
“That’s a lot of bamboo,” Veronica added and Julia laughed along with her.
“Doesn’t it get hot here for them?” Julia asked. “I know I’m hot.”
“Told you,” Claire whispered.
Julia gave her a look.
“You’ll be glad you’re hot now,” Emma said, “we mist the forest in an effort to create a habitat as close to the mountainous regions of central China as we can.”
“Told you,” Julia ribbed her sister back.
As they bumped up the narrow road through the bamboo, the air changed and the world seemed to transform and suddenly it really felt like they were in the mountains of China.
“This is cool,” Veronica whispered to no one.
“Really cool,” Claire added – looking around to spot a giant panda or two.
“Over there,” Julia pointed.
Emma immediately stopped the vehicle and they all looked where Julia indicated and there one was a giant panda, sitting peacefully, chewing on bamboo.
Emma spoke in a whisper as her students simultaneously wrote in their notebooks and gazed at the bear in awe.
“That’s Tiko. He lives in that hollowed out tree. This is his territory. It’s about two miles and almost perfectly square. He, like the other pandas, have marked their territory with a special smell to keep other pandas away.” She turned back towards Claire and the other girls. “Are you ready for a special treat?”
Their eyes danced as they nodded yes.
“We’re going to the panda hospital to see the new twin cubs.”
Claire’s breath caught in her chest and she wanted to scream.
“Really?” Julia said.
“Really,” Emma answered.
Julia turned to her sister. “Looks like your day was just made again.”
Claire could hardly sit still on the short ride to the panda hospital – which was really a small shelter on the edge of the forest. She’d seen the giant pandas at Zoo Atlanta and even went to a party when a set of twins was sent back to China, but this was different. This was close up.
The car stopped and everyone clamored to get out. Emma smiled.
“I know you’re all excited, but it’s important that we don’t scare them,” she said. “We’ll be up really close, but we can’t touch okay?”
The group nodded almost in unison. Emma wasn’t worried. She knew she’d chosen the most behaved and panda-friendly students in the class – with the help of Mr. Potts of course.
Claire and the others stared and stared at the cubs before them.
“They’re much smaller than Tiko,” Julia whispered to the group.
“Where’s their mother?” Claire asked.
“She’s getting ready to go back to China,” Emma said. “When these little guys turn three months or so, she’ll go and live on a breeding reserve – much better than ours. They’ll keep her for a while and then she’ll be released back into the wild. It is a special conservation program and this is our first contribution.”
“Like they do in Zoo Atlanta,” Julia said to her sister, but Claire was preoccupied.
“Are they healthy enough to go with their mother?” Claire asked knowing pandas stay with their mom’s for about 18 months after they are born.
“We’ll take care of them,” Emma said. “They see their mom every day and will for about another two weeks or so.”
“But that isn’t the same thing,” Claire said. “Isn’t the point to let them be as natural as they can be? Plus don’t they nurse for around eight months?”
“You sure do know a lot about pandas. Maybe you can come back this summer and do some volunteer work,” Emma said as she led the group back to the vehicle.
“That would be cool,” Claire said.
On the trip back to the bus Claire did not say a word. Summer was only six weeks away and the mommy panda would still be at the reserve. If her parents let her volunteer maybe there would be something she could do to keep the family together.
When they got back to the bus Emma pulled Claire aside. “There are some of the best scientists in the world making these decisions Claire. The cubs and their mom will be just fine. Better than fine.”
Claire nodded and smiled, but she was still unconvinced.
“I’m serious about volunteering,” Emma handed her a piece of paper. “With your parents’ permission, you can apply online. Put me as a reference. My name is here,” she pointed to her name on the letter.
“Thank you so much,” Claire said waving and smiling at Emma as she boarded the bus.
The three girls sat in the first two seats. Mr. Potts sat with Veronica in the second row while Julia and Claire sat in the first.
“Were they adorable?” Mr. Potts asked.
“It was amazing,” Julia said.
“I just wanted to cuddle them,” Veronica added excitedly, “but I could make them sick.”
“You know most pandas born in places like this used to die, but now most of them live,” Julia added.
Mr. Potts looked at Claire. “You’re being awfully quiet for someone who loves giant panda’s more than anyone I know.”
Claire smiled. “It was awesome and thank you so much for letting us be in the group that got to see the cubs. Really, it was the best.”
“And Emma asked her to volunteer at the reserve this summer,” Julia said proudly as she grabbed the letter from the front pocket of Claire’s backpack and showed it to Mr. Potts.
“That’s very exciting Claire,” he smiled, but he knew something was wrong.
“They are sending their mom back to China before the babies are 18 months old. Giant panda babies need their mom’s until they are at least that old,” Claire finally said.
“Claire, this is one of the finest reserves in the entire world. I’m sure they wouldn’t do anything to harm either the mom or the twin bears.”
“I know,” she smiled.
“What a great day,” Julia said. “But I’m hot and hungry.”
“I told you,” Claire smiled.
Julia laughed and shoulder bumped her sister.
“They’ll be okay,” Julia said. “Emma is nice. She’ll make sure of it.”
“I hope Mom and Dad let me volunteer,” Claire said.
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti

“Somehow, I think you can convince them,” Julia said – rummaging through her bag for a snack. “May we eat on the bus?” she politely asked the driver.
Ditto, the bus driver, turned and grinned. “Of course,” she said, “eat away.”
Mr. Potts stood and turned towards the back. “If you are going to eat any snacks, please make sure to pick up all of your trash and,” he added, “now would be a great time to finish up any information left out of your notebooks. It was an exciting day and with so much to see it would have been easy to miss one or two things, so check now so you have no homework,” he sat back down.
Claire took out her notebook and began to sketch the baby pandas.

Links - Novel Pages included:

The Great Panda Rescue Chapter 2 - Fiction STEM Interactive Reader

Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti






Chapter 2

Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti
Claire was the first one off of the bus when they arrived at the Randolph Animal Rescue Shelter and Reserve. She took a deep, excited breath as she looked around. As far as she could see were magnificent trees and lush fields.
She’d done her research. She also knew there were African-like savannahs, rain forests and what she really came to see – a bamboo forest scattered with giant pandas.
It was a warm spring day and the land before her looked wild and free.
Julia was last off the bus.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Claire said pointing to a grove in the distance. “Look! Bamboo! That’s where the pandas are.”
“Even I know that and all I came to do is get out of math,” Julia said laughing.
“You know they basically eat all day,” Claire added, ignoring her sister. Bamboo doesn’t really give them much nourishment, so they have to eat a lot of it. They have special stomachs to digest the wood.”
“Very good,” Mr. Potts said.
“You have a smart class Mr. Potts,” a voice we’d never heard before called as she almost skipped towards them.
Claire looked over at her teacher and the woman was now shaking his hand. The lady caught Claire’s eye and smiled.
Claire smiled back – thinking that the woman was probably about her cousin’s age – 25 tops. 
“Class,” Mr. Potts said in his soft voice and the entire class gathered around him. “This is Emma. She is going to be our guide this morning.”
Emma smiled. “Good morning everyone and welcome to the Randolph Animal Rescue Shelter and Reserve – are you ready to see some animals?”
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti
A chorus of yes and ready and yeas fell short of Emma’s expectations; because she asked the same question again – this time with more enthusiasm. “I said, are you ready to see some animals?
“Yes!” the entire class shouted at once.
“That’s better. Much better,” Emma said. “We’ll start inside.”
“Does everyone have their notebooks and animal pages with them?” Mr. Pott’s asked.
Several kids ran back on the bus – including Julia. Claire laughed.
Julia and the others caught up with the group as they were entering a large green and tan building that sort of disappeared into the landscape.
“I wonder if they did that on purpose,” Claire whispered to Julia.
“What?” asked Julia – still breathing a little heavily from the run from the bus.
“The building. The colors. They sort of blend into the background. The place is huge and I didn’t see it until now.” Claire said.
“Excellent,” Emma smiled at Claire again. “I’m glad someone noticed and it was on purpose. Did everyone hear what…” Emma looked at Claire.
Claire looked down shyly and then looked up and said her name. “Claire.” It was only her class after all.
“Claire,” Emma repeated and Claire smiled at her, “said?” Emma paused. “The building is camouflaged to blend into the background so the animals really do think they are in the wild. The building is also coated with special animal musk to mask us humans roaming around.”
“Does it work?” Caleb Greene asked. Caleb was a smart student in Claire’s class, but he was also a know-it-all and his tone was sarcastic.
“We think so,” Emma said, ignoring the sarcasm, “they stay away – each species in the habitat that was created for them. We are home to endangered animals such as the grizzly bear, the mountain gorilla and the black rhinoceros, which is critically endangered. We are also home to animals on the vulnerable list.
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti
Anybody know what that means?” Emma’s eyes twinkled as she looked around the room at the raised hands. She called on Claire.
“It means that they either used to be endangered and are healthier as a species because they are having more babies or that they are getting to be fewer and fewer of them so they might be endangered soon.”
“Exactly,” Emma said. “So the animals we have on the vulnerable list include the African bush elephant and the giant panda. We are very excited to say that we have 29 grizzly bears and 12 are scheduled to go back to the wild this year. And out of the 16 giant pandas here and three are going back to China by the end of the summer.”
“Isn’t that wonderful class?” Mr. Potts commented.  “That would be a good thing to put in those notebooks. And don’t forget – when we go on our safari – quick draws are great for your notebooks as well.”
“It’s as huge as Georgia in here,” Julia observed.
“Lots of animals require lots of space,” Emma answered
Caleb spoke without raising his hand. “I read that you have two South China Tigers and they’re going back too.”
“Unfortunately, Shama, our female is sick and the date for them to leave may be pushed back a little. They’re very important to us. No one really knows how many there are in the wild – some estimates say only 20. In reality, none have been seen in for over 15, 20 years.  Just 40 years ago there were over 4,000 in China; unfortunately, the government thought these smallest of all tigers were pests and hunted them to oblivion. We’re working with other shelters to breed them. The problem is, it’s estimated that all of the remaining tigers come from the same six wild tigers.”
“That’s bad,” Veronica Coolidge said. Claire liked Veronica. She was one of Julia’s best friends and played at their house a lot. She had long, long, long light brown hair and amber-red eyes.
“Really bad,” said Emma. “There might be nothing we can do about them.  This particular subspecies of tiger is, like I said small, and is actually believed to be the original tigers from which all of the other tigers came. It would be so cool if we can save them.”
“Can we see them?” Julia asked.
“Maybe,” Emma said. “The only for sure is a surprise – two baby grizzlies born four weeks ago. They’re still inside. We’ll see them for sure. The rest of the animals,
The Great Panda Rescue
except for Shama and a few others of the critically ill, are in their habitats and we have to spot them. We’ll separate in jeeps. But first, we’re going to watch a movie about the shelter and all the animals living here.”
“Write Movie as the topic and I want two facts about each animal written directly from the movie,” Mr. Potts said.
The class was led ito a theater and Julia, Claire and Veronica hurried to sit in the front row – so did Caleb Greene. He leaned over to Claire.
“Nice giant panda facts,” he said – almost nicely.
Claire looked at him and sort of smiled. She didn’t say anything because she wasn’t sure he was being nice for
Giant Pandas
real or playing her. He teased her a lot and that bothered her as much as she liked the attention – only she didn’t tell anyone the last part.

Order the Entire Book The Great Panda Rescue    

Links:

The Great Panda Rescue Chapter Two Interactive Reader with lessons activities and printables.
The Great Panda Rescue Chapter One Interactive Reader with lessons, activities and printables.
The Great Panda Rescue Chapter Three Interactive Reader with lessons, activities and printables.

Tiger Image: Taragui: Amoy tiger, ''Panthera tigris amoyensis'' From the Shanghai gallery at [http://www.world66.com/asia/northeastasia/china/shanghai/lib/gallery World66] According to [http://www.world66.com/about/copyright_policy], licensed as {{cc-by-sa-1.0}}


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