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SHS biology students learn about life at CWU

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Sunnyside High School science students get up close and personal with a desert tortoise during a guided tour of CWU in December. Pictured are (front row L-R) Yadira Alvizo, Juliana Ochoa, Vianca Herrera, Gabby Alcantar and Zach Zamora; (back row L-R) Carlos Correa, Jacquie Kranz and Ashley Davis.

ELLENSBURG - Students from Sunnyside High School took part in a MESA sponsored tour and learning experience at Central Washington University last month.

All students from Teri-Alvarez and Joyce Stark's honors biology classes were invited to participate. The students had a guided tour of the campus, a visit to the Chimposium and interactive and hands-on adventures with reptiles and amphibians in the CWU Biology Department.

The Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) is a sanctuary for a unique family of signing chimpanzees. Part of a project that began in 1966, five chimps acquired extensive American Sign Language vocabularies. Sunnyside students had a guided observation of chimps Tatu and Loulis's sanctuary, and practiced signing with the chimps.

The Biology Department provided a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Students had an opportunity to touch a variety of snakes, such as garter snake, ball python and Mexican corn snake. A very excited Pacific Northwest Rattlesnake rattled the entire time, giving the group a chance to see one in action.

There was a lot of excitement as students listened to the presenter talk about the animals' biology and habitats, asked questions and passed around the snakes.

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