Sacred Heart students get hands-on wildlife lesson

Contributed Photo Jeff Besaw, center, talks about whitetail deer as 3-year-old preschool students from Sacred Heart Catholic School examine the buck Monday.

The 3-year-old preschool class at Sacred Heart Catholic School has been studying the animals that live in Wisconsin. On Monday, they invited in a couple of wildlife enthusiasts to further the lesson.

Jeff and Cathy Besaw, of Clintonville, who have two grandchildren at Sacred Heart, visited the classroom of teachers Stacey Dickmann and Melissa Marquardt. They brought with them several life-sized animal mounts, including a whitetail buck, tom turkey, black bear yearling, cow elk and raccoon. They also showed off the pelts of a coyote, red fox, beaver, otter, muskrat, mink and opossum.

Jeff Besaw demonstrated the sounds some of the animal make when communicating with their own species or when warding off predators and announcing danger. A few students even had the opportunity to try the animal sounds themselves.

“To continue to be able to share my knowledge, passion and experience for wildlife and environmental education is very rewarding,” Besaw said. “Helping these preschoolers begin to grow a love for nature and animals is crucial to the success and health of Wisconsin wildlife. If children can see it, touch it and gain an understanding of its value in their world, then they begin to see how we as people have to play a positive role in the future of nature and all its inhabitants.”

The Besaws are the parents of Autumne Gee, Sacred Heart’s director of admissions and development.