ST. JOHN | The children and staff at Lil' Rascals Academy in St. John got a real treat today...a visit from some monkeys, a kangaroo and a porcupine to name a few. Ms. Pinky and her staff from Settlers Pond brought an abundance of endangered and not regularly seen wildlife for the children to learn about. Settlers Pond is an animal refuge located in Beecher, Il and is no kill rescue for any type of animal in need.
Li'l Rascals Academy called on Settlers Pond to come out and bring some animals for the kids to see. "We are a state licensed day care, but we also run a summer camp program for 6-12 year olds. We do guest speakers every Friday. I had been to Settler's Pond with my Mother-in Law, Li'l Rascals Founder, Georgene Resney, years ago and thought...maybe they'll come to us. Sure enough...they do," says Li'l Rascals owner, Lisa Resney. " I had no idea they were going to bring such exotic and rare animals," Resney adds. Among the animals were two marmoset monkeys, an 80 year old tortoise, a kinkajou, Palawa porcupine from the Philippines (there are only 8 in the whole US), an Eastern Grey kangaroo and a coatimundi.
Not just another day at camp, the kids were in total amazement. According to 7 year old camper, Samantha Van Winkle, "I loved the monkeys. They were so small and wore diapers." "Sitting on the tortoise was fun, but I was a little nervous he was gonna move, but it was still fun," said, 8 year old camper, Mason Howard. Resney also added that some of the kid's parents also came to check out the animals.
According to Pinky Janota, founder of Settlers, she says that most animals come to them because people bought them online and can no longer care for them, or they have been seized by the government. They rely on donations to keep the Pond going. In lieu of payment to the facility, Pinky asked if each child could donate something they need, like bleach or paper towels. Just a small price to pay for the wonderful work performed by Ms. Pinky and her crew.
Li'l Rascals Academy is located at 10641 Thielen St., St. John. Visit online at LilRascalsKids.com or call 219-365-3838