Two Wheelock School 3rd- grade classes have worked with the Horatio Colony House Museum and Nature Preserve and Antioch University New England to learn about the wild animals that are found in our region, as well as the importance animals have been to people.

Both the museum and nature preserve, as well as Antioch are members of the local Place-Based Education Committee and the Monadnock Regional Chapter of InsideOutside Nature-Based New England Educators.

Students first visited the Horatio Colony House Museum where they learned about Keene’s history, the Colony family’s love of animals and their connection to the nature preserve on West Hill. Students learn about the part animals played in local economy, from plowing farm fields to transporting people and goods; even hauling in timbers, bricks and granite blocks to build structures.

Back in the classroom, the students worked with their teachers, the museum’s director, Antioch interns. The students learned, at research stations set up throughout the room, about the animals that make their home at the nature preserve and throughout the region. The students then visited the Horatio Colony Nature Preserve to discover first hand evidence of animal life and habitats.

To culminate the project, each student made a special ornament inspired by the animals they studied. These ornaments will decorate the museum’s “animal tree,” which is the feature of this year’s holiday open house at the museum.

After the open house program, the ornaments are returned to each student so they can take their artwork home for holiday vacation.

The public is invited to see the students’ work at the museum during the free holiday open house on Friday, Dec. 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.