Graduate students give some high school pupils a biology course

FORREST COUNTY, MS. (WDAM) - A rare frog is just one of many animals that were part of an educational demonstration Friday at Forrest County Agricultural High School. In fact, a snapping turtle was caught right out of the High School's on campus pond.

Daniel Gaillard is one of several graduate students from USM that are part of a grant program from the National Science Foundation that is designed to increase high school students' interest in science fields.

"It's public outreach that we can go and help young students especially these students here are more into agriculture, wildlife type of things and we want them to have the motivation to pursue that," said Gaillard.

Kim Wingo is the Grant Project Manager for this initiative and she explained, "It's a really exciting day for these students, they just finished up their state tests this past week, so we wanted to reward them and let them actually see what these graduate students do on a daily basis. They are not in a lab all the time wearing a lab coat. They are actually in the field catching birds, catching tortoises," said Wingo.

Many of the high school students like, Nancy Shoemake, really enjoyed learning more about the frogs, fish and other wildlife that surround them everyday on campus.

Shoemake said, "I really like it, I love fishing, I love finding stuff like that except for snakes I don't like snakes."

The snakes received a bad rap, but maybe in time with more exposure to the harmless ones from the USM students, the high schoolers will develop a greater appreciation for the slinky creatures.

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