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Conservation Officers Surprise Third Grade Class

Conservation officers Alexandra Frohberg and Tom Zimmer made a surprise visit to Covington Elementary in South Sioux City recently. As part of a class assignment, third grade student Kevin Castro wrote to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to invite staff to visit his class and to read.

“The students love to have guest readers come in, and I love to show how reading is a part of life, even after school,” said Castro’s third grade teacher Sara Friedrichsen. “So I have them pick someone from the community they would like to know more about. Kevin picked the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission because he wasn’t sure exactly what they did.”

Although Friedrichsen was included in the surprise, none of her students knew that they would have special visitors that day. Conservation officers Frohberg and Zimmer, armed with children’s books and a trunk full of animal furs, sneaked into the third grade class after lunchtime to meet an audience of wide-eyed, excited students who were bursting with questions.

Do you sometimes have to use force? Do you ever go out on night shifts? Do you wear any special clothes? These were some of the questions asked by the students, along with many personal anecdotes about “that time when…”

After questions, the conservation officers explained to the class the importance of reading and writing in their everyday lives and their job. Then the students gathered on the floor at the front of the classroom to listen to Dr. Seuss’s Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, read by conservation officer Frohberg.

Concluding the visit, the officers quizzed the students on their Nebraska wildlife knowledge. The animal trunk was opened and fur pelts and small animal skulls were passed around for the students to see and feel.

About Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

NEBRASKAland Associate Editor Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and moved to the United States with her parents in 1992. She graduated from Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, California, in 2008 and completed her bachelor’s degree at UCLA in 2012. Wheatley was editor-in-chief for her high school newspaper and continued to write in college, freelancing for various publications, the Tiger Woods Foundation and writing for her blog FoodForHunters.com. After graduating college, she moved to Nebraska in early 2013 to join the Commission as Regional Editor at NEBRASKAland Magazine. She then became associate editor in 2015. Wheatley enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking.

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