NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A ferret, coatimundi, hedgehog, skunk, chinchilla and wallaby arrived at West End Elementary school on the evening of March 18 – not as mascots, but as educators.

Eyes of the Wild, a traveling educational zoo, brought the six furry friends to West End as part of the PTA’s free Family Fun Night Series event ‘Wildlife Night.’ Through a mix of education and comedy, families learned about each animal, how they survive in the wild, and how humans can help keep them safe.  Eyes of the Wild presenter Kimberly Gruning walked West End attendees through the life of each animal - giving them the opportunity to see each one up close and, where possible, pet them.

Based out of Pine Beach, NJ, Eyes of the Wild is a rescue center for animals that were injured in the wild and unable to be released after receiving rehabilitation and those that have been abandoned by people who realized too late that wild animals do not make good pets. The organization cares for the animals and has turned each one’s unfortunate circumstance into a learning experience for humans.

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‘Wildlife Night’ was the final Family Fun Night event scheduled for the 2015-2016 school year. Sponsored by funds raised by the PTA, the semi-monthly series is open to West End families as a way for them to get together in a social environment outside of regular school events. All this year’s events were offered free to participants and, in addition to ‘Wildlife Night,’ included Family Game Night, a Family Dance, and two themed movie nights.

While the Family Fun Night Series has ended for this school year, additional events are planned, including the annual basket auction fundraiser “Basket-Palooza” on Saturday, April 9 and the WE School Fair on Saturday, May 21.

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