News: Families explore, learn about animals on base
Story by Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is home to a vast number of animals and plants. Many of them thrive, some struggle to survive, but all of them are aided by base patrons who act as nature’s shepherds.
Families attended Onslow Beach’s Expedition Mammals and Animals of North Carolina event hosted at the Onslow Beach Osprey Pavilion aboard MCB Camp Lejeune recently.
More than 40 people arrived for the event. Children had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about animals during the outdoor class offered by Marine Corps Community Services.
“I think it’s great to let everyone know what Camp Lejeune has to offer,” said Ruth Gooch, a reservations assistant with Onslow Beach, MCCS, who taught the class. “It’s important to let the kids know how much there is out there so they can take it when they grow up and possibly do things to help.”
Members of wildlife department brought shells from loggerhead sea turtles, displayed a turtle nest and talked to the children about the turtles that return each year to the beaches they hatched from.
“The class awesome and very informative,” said Kelly Tatarowizz, a family member of a retired service member who attended the event with her children. “It’s hands on and the kids can see what the animal actually looks like up close.”
Gooch also brought stuffed animals to include a fox, osprey, otter and black bear. The young participants were so intrigued by the displays they nearly touched the stuffed animal with the tips of their noses while looking.
“I’m thrilled to see the children enjoying [the event] and taking it so well,” said Gooch. “It always fun and easier for the kids to be interested when there’s something visually appealing to them. This is a unique group of participants because we have many different age groups represented.”
Throughout the class, hands continued to pop up and Gooch was sure to answer every question. Parents smiled as they watched their children grasp the desire to inquire.
“This program is great,” said Elizabeth Peralta, a military spouse who attended with her children. “We get to learn about the animals we have on the base, but the class was perfect for the kids. [MCCS] knows what children like. There are always games or hands-on activities for the children. I think it’s great MCCS hosts events like this for the families.”
July 18 – History of Onslow County and MCB Camp Lejeune
Aug. 15 – Fossils and Shells of Onslow Beach
For more information on these events, visit www.mccslejeune.com or call 440-6546.