4H turns animals loose at McMorran
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
The odor of a farm hung heavily in the air at the McMorran Place pavilion during the 8th annual 4H-hosted Animal Mania. The event took place last Saturday, March 15, from noon to 4 p.m.
Animal Mania brought in 1,800 people last year. This year broke that record, reeling in about 2,664 adults and children.
Lori Warchuck, coordinator for the event said, “Animal Mania was modeled after MSU’s ‘Vet-a-Visit.’ We’ve never had a bad year with Animal Mania. Each year has been good.”
Besides being a giant petting zoo for the children, Animal Mania is meant to educate, demonstrate, and show off careers that work closely with animals.
The Department of Natural Resources had a shooting simulation set up to teach kids the proper way to hold and shoot a rifle or shotgun, depending on the child’s choice. Alongside that, flyers were also handed out to promote a hunter education class.
The Sheriff’s office also brought an Animal Control truck filled with adoptable cats and dogs alongside a K9 unit. Deputy officer Mike Pink answered questions for everyone that asked what the K9 unit does alongside his German Shepard partner, Fist.
Kristy Hardy, a member of 4H, brought in her sheep to showcase how much and how different wool can be.
“It’s always good to see children learn about animals and how to respect them.” Hardy said. Hardy has been lending a helping hand with Animal Mania for the last 7 years.
Lisa Ponke, owner of Day Dreams Farm in New Haven, said that she gained many new volunteers at this event, but no adopters for any horses. When asked what her farm does for the horses, she referred to a business card that stated: “Dedicated to saving abused or neglected horses and promoting responsible ownership.”
“The two horses we have here, Bailey and Cheeroke, are going to be in our new program for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So really this event isn’t just for the kids, it expands out to the adults too,” Ponke said.