Perry Memorial is the right place at the right time
Ranger Elliot McDowell’s first run leading the Reading With a Ranger program at Perry Memorial Library Tuesday went well thanks to a “Gopher to the Rescue.”
About a dozen children huddled around the uniformed ranger to see the book’s pictures after they heard the story about how natural settings recover after a volcanic eruption.
The reading program is part of a lineup for the library’s Tuesday routine for school-age children, every week at 2 p.m. through the summer and switching back to 4 p.m. in September through the school year.
McDowell said his first experience with the library reading program went well enough that he definitely plans to be back again.
“I think it went very well,” he said of interacting with the children. “It was wonderful.”
Sean Juengling said he leads his small troop of two sons and a daughter on a bicycle run through Henderson as part of their family routine, and stopping by the library is always on their list because of so many interesting things happening there.
“We just kind of stopped by,” Juengling said, “so we were here, the right place at the right time. That’s why we always come by. You never know what might be happening.”
Patti McAnally, the library’s assistant director who is also in charge of youth programs, said the rangers fill part of a complete program to make every Tuesday a program day.
“Reading with a ranger was in place when I got here,” she said. “Now we try to have something every Tuesday, so people know they can keep coming back.”
On Tuesday, children learned that a forest’s recovery after an eruption is measured in days, then weeks and months, leading to years and decades, in the book, “A Gopher to the Rescue.”
A gopher is one animal that may seek survival by digging, and other animals use that sheltering, too.
“Some animals can flee, but others are able to protect themselves,” McDowell said. “One thing you can be sure of is the gophers will continue to dig and dig.”
In the story he read, it was because of that digging that there was shelter for some other small forest creatures to escape the hot ash of an eruption.
After an eruption, the first creatures to return to the area are typically the insects, then other small animals as some foliage begins to grow again.
“After a long while, the forest is as good or better than before,” McDowell said, adding that the eruption becomes part of the natural cycles that keep going.
Others in the Tuesday lineup include Cleo and friends, specially trained therapy dogs, who take second and fourth Tuesdays; the rangers have the third Tuesdays; and other program offerings take every first and fifth Tuesday as applicable.
The program schedule takes a break every December and May.
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