Wide Horizons loses touch with Sunset Zoo

Anika Nyp , Blue M Editor-in-Chief

At Manhattan High School, students have the chance to become even more hands on with animals through the Wide Horizons class.

It allows for them to interact with different animals as they learn about how to work as a team.

“Right now they’re starting to narrow in on what their topics are going to be for the school year.” Wide Horizon teacher Leslie Campbell said. “We have been doing small presentations with a variety of different partners, we’ve been mixing them up. That establishes more of a large team mentality instead of just with your partner.”  

Throughout the years, Wide Horizons has gone out to all the Manhattan elementary schools to present about their animals. 

“It really helps with your presentation skills,” Campbell said. “Being able to get your message across to a variety of different audience members gets you more comfortable with your speaking.”

It does not only benefit the students in a public speaking sense but it helps younger elementary students to become more involved with science and Wide Horizons in the future.

“Probably half the students I have now grew up in the school district knowing Wide Horizons programs and always wanted to be that person,” Campbell said. 

With all the presentations they do during the school year, they are required to have a lot of animals to study, but none of their animals are bought from the school district. They are either all donated or personal animals from the students. 

“We are our own little zoo in there,” Campbell said, “The science department helps support them but the animals that have have all been donated to us.” 

Right now, the program has around 15 animals, not including the personal pets that were brought in. Some students even took the initiative to care for some of the animals over the summer. 

During class time, the students are preparing for their presentations and researching, using Manhattan’s Sunset Zoo as a resource. But lately the program has not used the zoo as much as they have in the past. 

“We used to do a lot more with the Sunset Zoo,” Campbelll said. “There was one person over there in education that I used to bring over and have them basically interact with Wide Horizons to tell them what it was like to work with kids.” 

It became difficult to schedule that meeting with the Sunset zoo, so Wide Horizons only had time for a field trip at the end of the year. 

“It was animals that we already kind of had in hand and it wound up not not benefiting us as much as I would have liked,” Campell said. “There’s not a lot of interaction with the sunset.