We recently welcomed the long-awaited resident for its tortoise habitat and plant garden. Titus the tortoise arrived from the Desert Museum just in time to make himself comfortable in his new home before hibernating for the winter. Titus is a 25-30 year old male desert tortoise who likes cruising around his enclosure and chomping on the plants (when he’s not relaxing in his burrow).
The arrival of the tortoise is the end of a three-year project funded by a grant, the Heritage Fund, which is through the Arizona Fish and Game department. It all started in the fall of 2005 when Jessie Bodenstadt, chair of the Science Committee, took the suggestion of an involved, forward-thinking parent and applied for this grant. The school received the grant the following spring and so began the enormous project of researching, planning, constructing, planting, and finally readying the habitat for its guest of honor.
While the tortoise’s arrival does mark the end of one project, it also is the beginning of another one. The Science Committee applied for and received a second grant through the Heritage Fund, which paid for the development of a curriculum and materials to go along with the habitat. Now teachers and students are able to take the learning outside with this outdoor classroom.
If you haven’t met Titus yet, make sure to join us in the spring when we watch for him to come out of hibernation!