Photo:  Stephanie Harren, of Triple F Animal Adventures, offers more than the experience of the typical petting zoo. Instead she offers a hands on, live animal themed program. In her themed program of  Ragin’ Reptiles everyone can learn about the cold blooded creatures and get the chance to touch a real snake and tortoise.

 

By Debby Schamber

The Record Live

An adventure awaits for animal lovers in Bridge City and surrounding areas. 

Stephanie Harren, of Triple F Animal Adventures, offers more than the experience of the typical petting zoo. Instead she offers a hands on, live animal themed program. 

Her themes include “Ragin’ Reptiles where everyone can learn about the cold blooded creatures and get the chance to touch a real snake and tortoise. Harren offers Marvelous Mammals and the Brilliant Bird. Some people may inquire what are the unique aspects of our fine feathered friends. There is also the theme of Animal Adaptions which explores animals who have unique adaptions which have helped them to survive in their habitat. Another theme would be Fur, Feathers and Scales which goes into details about animal coverings and what makes each animal group unique. Finally, Harren offers farm animals. She knows everyone loves a baby chick or duck but through her programs, everyone can learn about all the different kinds of farms. 

“Helping children and adults alike understand where their food comes from is a major component of the  farm animals program, and helping individuals gain an appreciation for uniqueness of each of the animals we have is and objective of each of the themes,” Harren said. 

For those seeking a different theme, Harren can customize a program specific for their needs.

Keegan Harren, 8, holds a goat from the farm. The animals are used to teach area children about farm animals.

“Not only do people get to learn about the animals, but they also get games, science activities and an optional arts and craft activity,” Harren said. 

Harren offers her programs to the local school districts but also to birthday parties, Vacation Bible School programs, corporate family day events, libraries and to those homeschooling too. 

The presentations are oral with the live animals showcased according to the theme chosen.  She also uses books which are both fiction and non fiction for small groups.  Presentations can be done for groups of 100 or more all the way down to small groups of 10 to 20 participants. 

The smaller the group, the more hands on learning that can be done, Harren said. 

Teachers often want programs to coordinate with what they are teaching in school.  Harren can customize a program to help with gardening, nutrition, farm to fork and more. By using the farm animals in her demonstrations, it will help people gain a greater appreciation of where their food comes from.Teachers will enjoy Science, Technology, Engineering Math programs also known as STEM as well as being Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills aligned.  

Harren has four snakes, a tortoise, goats, and sugargliders. In addition, she has chickens and ducks of various ages. Harren plans to add lizards and other small mammals to her programs. 

“I can’t tell you how many times I have been with kids that don’t realize that the chicken nuggets come from actual chickens,” Harren said. “When they see the chicken up close and personal and realize that is what their food is, they have a whole new outlook on life.”

Harren knew someday she would be doing this type of work when as a young girl she saw a zookeeper stand up with animals and was telling the crowd about them. 

 “I thought that was the coolest thing so when I took my first job as an animal caretaker I was excited,” Harren said.

Harren has been working with animals in education for more than 15 years. She has a degree from Purdue University in Environmental and Natural Resource Education. She began her career in 1999 as an educator and animal caretaker at the largest children’s museum in the world, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. She continued on her career path in New York as the head animal caretaker at the Troy Junior Museum where over 250 animals were housed. While there she oversaw animals such as tarantulas, spiders, Savannah Monitor lizard and a Barred owl. 

 For the last five years she has worked at a local museum as the education coordinator.However, she now offers her own programs. 

” I want to be able to challenge people so they can better understand the world they live in,” Harren said.” I love presenting these programs and seeing the children’s faces when they touch a snake for the first time and are taken by surprise by how it feels.  Dispelling myths about snakes and helping people overcome their fears is also important.”

To contact Harren, the best way is to call her at 409-749-0184 or by email at thechosenweeds@gmail.com. More information is also available on her website http://www.thechosenweeds.com/triple-f-animal-adventures/ or on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/animaloutreaches/. She encourages people to sign up for her newsletter on the website.