Main Street Books in Minot will welcome an unusual visitor this weekend. The bookstore has partnered with Roosevelt Park Zoo, Minot, to host a turtle-focused event this Saturday. Meet a Tortoise at Main Street Books centers around the opportunity to learn about and meet an African spurred tortoise.
“We have a story time girl here. She does hours of stories every week, so she chose books about turtles. She’ll have a trade, and then we’ll take the animal out,” said Lindsey Bertsch, event coordinator at Main Street Books. “Zoo keepers talk about him or her – sometimes animals can walk around and be touched by kids too, so that’s really cool.”
Bertsch reserved the turtle through the zoo’s Zoo To You program. There are a dozen animal ambassadors in the program who visit classrooms, nursing homes and other events to educate the public. Of the 12 active animal ambassadors, half of them can be touched.
The zoo currently has two African spurred tortoises, Shelby and Wilson. Shelby came to Minot from another establishment, but Wilson is probably someone’s rejected pet. A boater on Lake Sakakawea found it in 2018. Jennifer Kleen, executive director of the Greater Minot Zoological Society, said one of the goals of Animal Ambassadors is to educate the public about responsible animal choice. company.
“(Turtles) can live up to 100 years. To have a turtle you need a long-term plan, so it’s something not everyone thinks about,” Cleen said.
Shelby will visit the bookstore on Saturday, but she won’t be the first animal to do so. At other times in Animal Stories, a hedgehog, a tarantula, and an armadillo made appearances.
“We did our first in September. He was touched” Bertsch said. “People really liked it, so we were like, let’s do this throughout the school year.”
The turtle will be supervised by a zookeeper who will be available to answer any questions participants may have about the animal. Kleen said the zookeeper also helps the animal they are accompanying to stay safe in a learning setting.
“We have a protocol for each of the animals in the field”, Cleen said. “Children are told to touch with two fingers. With young children, when they think about keeping those two fingers on the animal, they can’t think of doing anything else.
The event is free, and Bertsch said that while traditional story hours tend to appeal to young children, animal story hours tend to appeal to an older age group.
“The last few times there were probably 11 and 12 year olds who just wanted to be there to see, touch and learn about the animal,” she said.
The event will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 22. For more information, contact Main Street Books at 839-4050.