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Meeting up with 120 school kids in Ithaca, US

Elephants in the classroom

On 11th May 2012 ElephantVoices had a Skype conference based on our Elephants in the Classroom: Meet ElephantVoices initiative. Joyce Poole met up with students from Boynton Middle School in Ithaca, New York. Teacher Corinne Morton was the one behind this educational meeting through cyberspace.

Corinne has written this summary from an online gathering Joyce enjoyed very much. Keep up the good work, Boynton Middle School!


I am a sixth grade science and humane education teacher at Boynton Middle School in Ithaca, New York. We are located in the heart of the fingerlakes and our school is about ten minutes from Cornell University. As an educator, my passion is exposing students to all sides of situations so that they may make informed decisions about how they spend their money and what they do or do not support.

I have always been interested and involved in elephant conservation and education, especially regarding life for these creatures in zoos and circuses. I often do curriculum work tied in with the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and have exposed my students to the research being done on elephant communication. I love to think of myself as Global Educator and link my students to scientific events worldwide as well as locally. We had the pleasure of having Melissa Groo come in to our classes to do a presentation on her experiences with the Elephant Listening Project at Cornell and elephants in general. I had also exposed my students to ElephantVoices and the work Joyce Poole has done over the years in elephant research. I thought it would be a wonderful experience to have my students Skype with her after seeing it on the website.

The students were beyond excited and still talk about the experience they had skyping with Joyce! I had a total of 120 students come up with questions for her and those students were split into four class periods to Skype. I was able to let small groups of students take turns in front of the camera asking their questions while I projected Joyce on the large screen for all students to watch. It all worked wonderfully!

My students wrote some reflective pieces on their experience skyping with Joyce and below you'll find a few.

From the sixth graders ( age 11-12):

"I learned a lot and it made me want to do something and inform other people about elephant voices!" Imaan Gruel.

"I love the skype effect...I thought Joyce Poole was funny and at the same time it was enlightening." Dylan Davenport.

"It was the best ever science lesson. I love skyping with Joyce Poole." Brian Conuel.

"I learned a lot from the questions you answered and thought it was cool that you were across the world talking to us! Thank you". Danielle Hemly.

"It was cool to meet one of the leading elephant scientists in the world! It also made me want to boycott animal circuses." (Not signed)

"I am Max and I speak for the elephants! I am convinced that poaching and circuses are horrible." Max Milton.

"I really enjoyed skyping with you. You gave many facts and a few stories that made us laugh. Skype was a great way to talk with you. I want to spread the word about ElephantVoices." Andreas Lambrou.

"I know that elephants are important to the world." Mohammed Williams.

"Joyce Poole, you are awesome, I like that you help elephants." Tysheem Randall.

"I learned a lot skyping and it made me realize how awesome elephants are." Dylan Morse.

"I learned elephant circuses are not for elephants or for any other animals." Shayla Szeto.

"Thanks for everything... I have actually been to Africa...I got to see a lot of wild animals. Elephants and other animals belong in the wild." Mariya Mayu.

"It was a very informational experience. For example, I learned that elephant tusks extend far into their skulls." Ben Carver.

"Thank you for skyping, it was a wonderful experience. Elephants are a great subject to research and I bet it is very interesting to spend so much time with them. I hope we meet again." Adelaide Tracey.

"It was very cool talking to you!" Thea Clarkburg.