By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Northborough – We have all had just about enough of the recent snowfall here in New England and so the idea of being transported to the rainforest could not have been more timely.
Several hundred students, parents, faculty and members of the community attended the evening performance of “Understanding Wildlife, Live on Stage – The Rainforest” Feb. 6 at the Fannie E. Proctor School.
The show was brought to life with magnificent animals that included birds, a red tail boa constrictor, a Capuchin monkey, alligators and more. The show’s backdrop was a huge mural of the rainforest with some special effects.
Mike Kohlrieser, founder and director of Understanding Wildlife, Inc., an Ohio-based nonprofit organization created to educate and motivate, engages his audience with facts and humor. He is passionate about the rainforest and the impact that it has in the world that we live in. This educational and entertaining show used lights, sounds and special effects to convey important messages to the audience in a really fun way.
“We are all so busy in our lives and we don’t have time to worry about things let alone things going on halfway around the world. We need to be concerned with endangered species, extinction and our world’s supply of oxygen and the air that we breathe,” said Kohlrieser.
Since 1992, Understanding Wildlife has dedicated itself to rainforest conservation. This program has visited thousands of elementary schools across the country. Kohlrieser wanted everyone to be able to experience the tropical rainforest but understanding that this wasn’t possible, he found a way to “bring the rainforest to them.”
The show began with the introduction of some larger birds called Macaws, Panama Amazon birds, which flew around the audience performing tricks.
Four student volunteers were invited to hold a boa constrictor and during intermission, for a fee, audience members could have their photo taken with the snake.
“These animals kill their prey by wrapping around them and each time the animal breathes out they squeeze harder, eventually killing their prey,” Kohlrieser explained.
All of the animals are born and raised in the United States. Kohlrieser also told the audience that these exotic animals are not good pets and some require an enormous amount of work.
Understanding Wildlife, Inc. held an assembly at the Proctor School for all of the students in the morning. Learning about the rainforest and the animals that inhabit it can inspire many both young and not so young to do their part and become more environmentally conscious.
“It was wonderful that so many families across town participated in this evening event. The program’s important message of helping to save our world by protecting the rainforests, appreciating nature and recycling left a memorable impression on everyone in attendance,” said Principal Margaret Donohoe.