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updated: 4/14/2014 2:08 PM

Whales spring to life for students at Butterfield School in Libertyville

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  • Marine biologist Wayne Brown holds a model of a humpback whale as he teaches students about whales during "The Underwater Adventure" program Monday at Butterfield School in Libertyville. Brown and his wife, Karen, use models and props to teach students about the habits of whales.

       Marine biologist Wayne Brown holds a model of a humpback whale as he teaches students about whales during "The Underwater Adventure" program Monday at Butterfield School in Libertyville. Brown and his wife, Karen, use models and props to teach students about the habits of whales.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Marine biologist Wayne Brown describes the eating habits of a humpback whale with the help of Butterfield School second grade students Luke Kallieris, Kaitlin Gajewicz, Sam Kim, Amy Bermingham and Sophia DeBruler during "The Underwater Adventure" program Monday. Brown and his wife, Karen, used models and props to teach more than 500 Libertyville students about the habits of whales.

       Marine biologist Wayne Brown describes the eating habits of a humpback whale with the help of Butterfield School second grade students Luke Kallieris, Kaitlin Gajewicz, Sam Kim, Amy Bermingham and Sophia DeBruler during "The Underwater Adventure" program Monday. Brown and his wife, Karen, used models and props to teach more than 500 Libertyville students about the habits of whales.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Butterfield School kindergartners Jacob Allen and Mimi Bursac learn their fingerprints are similar to the flukes on humpback whales during "The Underwater Adventure" program Monday. Marine biologists Wayne and Karen Brown used models and props to teach more than 500 Libertyville students about the habits of whales.

       Butterfield School kindergartners Jacob Allen and Mimi Bursac learn their fingerprints are similar to the flukes on humpback whales during "The Underwater Adventure" program Monday. Marine biologists Wayne and Karen Brown used models and props to teach more than 500 Libertyville students about the habits of whales.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
By Gilbert R. Boucher II
gboucher@dailyherald.com

Butterfield Elementary School students got an underwater lesson Monday as marine explorers Wayne and Karen Brown explained the world of whales during "The Ocean Adventure" presentation.

About 550 students from the Libertyville school learned about varieties of whales, whales' eating habits, parts of a whale, swimming habits of whales and raising young whales.

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For more than 25 years, the marine conservationists from California have been taking their underwater programs to about 200 schools across the country to teach students about whales, sharks, dolphins and other creatures.

"The kids love it. We gear it to the level of the audience. We have some fun stuff, some gross stuff and some surprises," said Wayne Brown, a marine biologist. "We have a life-size inflatable animal, we have props, models and real-life specimens."

The Browns presented a slideshow of their expedition to the humpback whale breeding grounds at Silver Bank, in the Caribbean Sea, where students viewed breathtaking underwater photography of mother and baby whales.

Several second graders were able to hold whale teeth and baleen as the Browns talked about California gray whales, humpback whales, killer whales, sperm whales and narwhals.

"It was cool," second-grader Amy Bermingham said after seeing the sharp tooth of a killer whale.

As the show came to a close, a 20-foot inflatable baby humpback whale sprang to life and children got the experience of relating to the size of the giant mammal.

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