Modesto Junior College West Campus to go wild Saturday

On Saturday, the Great Valley Museum will host its fifth annual Wild Planet Day on the Modesto Junior College West Campus. Wild Planet Day is an event for the whole family that will be entertaining and a learning experience for the kids. It also is a chance for area residents to see MJC’s planetarium, which will hold several showings, and to see the nearly completed Great Valley Museum.

The idea for Wild Planet Day came from the late Sandy Vanwey, who was then secretary of the college’s science department. Vanwey wanted a fundraiser for the museum that also would provide local families with a day out and a chance for their kids to learn about science.

Attendance has increased from the first Wild Planet Day, which happened to fall on a rainy day. Weather since then has been ideal. The second year was memorable for me because I turned a corner and came face to face with a kangaroo. The adults are much taller than you’d think, and if someone hadn’t been holding its tail, it probably would have run me over.

This will be the second year that Wild Planet Day takes place on the west campus.

The 2014 edition will feature shows at the planetarium – a $5 cost in addition to Wild Planet Day admission – and plenty of other shows and instructional hands-on classes, all through the science department building. There will be supervised classes on subjects ranging from squid dissection to the science of bubbles.

Event organizer Loralee Crawford is very happy with the classes and said, “Our make-and-take science is a great way of hands-on learning that will match the classroom curriculum.” She also said that along with the classes, there will be “a reptile collection from Mike Sutton, the museum’s live animals, the Bat Lady, 4-H farm animals, (including) 4-H goats with a milking demo.”

Many of the classes will be led by instructors from the MJC science and math departments.

There will be local food vendors on campus for those who get hungry.

Wild Planet Day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, will cost $8 per person or $20 for a family of up to six. Profits will go to the Great Valley Museum to continue outreach programs, staff and nature shop.