Students First – Dr. Luke Dollar speaks to fourth graders

Last week, all fourth grade students in Collier County got to feel like they were walking the soil of Madagascar as they tuned into a video conference to learn about the Fosa, a native mammal to the area. There he was on the screen, the famous Dr. Luke Dollar, live at the Naples Zoo to provide the facts as well as an up-close look at the animal the students have been learning about in class.

Who is Dr. Luke Dollar? Dr. Dollar is featured in a National Geographic science book used in our CCPS classrooms. He is a popular scientist who discovered the Fosa while on a trip to Madagascar years ago and has been sharing his knowledge ever since. So when the children saw him on the screen, they recognized him immediately and were in awe! Several lucky students were even able to ask questions of the famous doctor during the video conference.

Submitted photo/Jennifer Kupiec
Dr. Dollar is featured in a National Geographic science book used in the CCPS classrooms. He is a popular scientist who discovered the Fosa while on a trip to Madagascar years ago and has been sharing his knowledge ever since.

And while the video conference was great, can you imagine getting to meet one of your famous idols in person? Well that’s just what happened for ALL of our Immokalee fourth graders!

“They were thrilled to see him live and in person after watching his Fosa presentation at the Zoo,” shared Lake Trafford Elementary teacher Sabrina Kovacs. “It is not often that students are able to meet, let alone speak, to a zoologist in person. From his visit, many of my students now want to become zoologists or biologists as their future careers.”

Dr. Dollar shared that his love of animals at a young age led him to become a specialist in the field of zoology. The students were able to internalize that their dreams, too, could become a reality. They also had some great questions for the doctor related to his Fosa research.

“Do Fosa hunt in groups?” “Other than lemurs, do they eat any other animals?” “Do they have any predators; are they hunted?”

“I always love when my students have the opportunity to have a meaningful experience come to them,” states Kovacs. “Having Dr. Dollar personally visit every fourth grade classroom in Immokalee was a unique experience that students will never forget.”

We thank the Naples Zoo for their collaboration in making this opportunity possible, and of course, Dr. Dollar for sharing his experiences and adventures with our young learners.

Jennifer L. Kupiec is the Specialist, Communications & Community Engagement Collier County Public Schools

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