Transformations CDC’s Students’ Herpetology Weekend in Red River Gorge

Transformations CDC’s Students’ Herpetology Weekend in Red River Gorge 250 251 Episcopal Community Ministries

Transformations CDC is  a non-profit originally started by the bilingual Episcopal church, The Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador, to help serve the needs of the undocumented immigrant community in Cincinnati. This organization does remarkable work providing housing and food assistance, emergency services,  immigrant rights advocacy and organization, translation services and educational outreach.  Perhaps their greatest labor of love is the Learning Club, which is why Episcopal Community Ministries (ECM) so enthusiastically supports their mission to nurture and support children and to connect people with spiritual power.

One look at the young people who participated in the learning enrichment opportunities and you will see that a weekend celebrating the wonders of the natural world does everyone a world of good.

Transformaciones/Transformations CDC Director Nancy Sullivan reports on the Learning Club’s  annual Herpetology Weekend:

Imagine spending a weekend in Red River Gorge getting wet and muddy while studying salamanders, frogs and other amphibians.

Each year Price Hill-based Transformaciones/Transformations CDC takes Learning Club students, all immigrants or children of immigrants, to Kentucky for Natural Bridge State Park’s annual Herpetology Weekend.  When the park canceled their event because of the pandemic, we developed a our own.

Paul Krusling, retired Mt. St. Joseph biology professor, spent Saturday in the field, netting specimens and turning over rotting logs looking for different salamander species.  The also helped kids check out different vernal ponds, some in the sun and some in the shade, for frog egg masses, tadpoles and larvae.

Dan and Judy Dourson, reknowned Kentucky and Central American naturalists and guidebook authors, led Sunday’s adventure at the new Red Oak sanctuary founded by their family.  Dan met us with a hog-nosed snake, which obligingly played dead, rolling over, mouth agape and tongue hanging out.  For your first time touching a snake, this is the way to go!

The kids also climbed up to the top of Natural Bridge, toasted marshmallows, scaled big rocks and generally got dirty and tired while having a blast- and learning a lot.  These are opportunities they are likely never to forget.  It was fun to hear both Spanish and English flying  back and forth between the kids, some newly arrived, others born here.

We also were fortunate to have Price Hillian Jake Otte  (St. James-Westwood Vestry) and Latina soccer coach Glenda Ventura among the chaperones.  Both are longtime volunteers with Transformations CDC and are know all the students very well.

 

Click on the photos below to view full sized photos:

 

Submitted by Nancy Sullivan, Transformations CDC Director.  May 2021
badgmur@gmail.com

To learn more about the extraordinary work done by the  Transformations CDC Program, check out their Facebook page:    https://www.facebook.com/groups/621542117877767/