Chameleons change colors to blend into the background, right? Wrong. That’s just one of the things that the Afterschool kids at Allie’s Place learned when Greenburgh Nature Center stopped in to join their teacher, Mr. K, in a series of lessons about animals. While there were no chameleons in the classroom, the topic came up when the class was introduced to a colorful bearded dragon.

Why do chameleons and other reptiles like bearded dragons change color? The kids learned that contrary to popular belief, it is not to camouflage themselves, but rather to regulate their body temperature or express feelings.

The class enjoyed petting the animals to feel their different textures—from the scaly bearded dragon to the ultra-soft chinchilla—and hearing about the types of foods the animals (and one big bug, the hissing cockroach) liked to eat.

“What does it mean to be endangered?” Mr. K asked the group when discussing the chinchilla. The kids talked about other endangered animals like the panda bear and why we are concerned about animals that go extinct.

After an engaging lesson, the class already couldn’t wait for the next visit—especially when they heard that they could put requests in for what type of animals they could meet. One student wanted to meet a bunny, and another was curious about a turtle.

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