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Canby High senior visits her old classroom at Lee Elementary to talk about polar bears

by: RAY HUGHEY - Canby High senior Lilly Pruitt tells students how global warming impacts polar bears and what they can do to help.It was a homecoming of sorts last month for Canby High School senior Lilly Pruitt who returned to her old classroom at Lee Elementary School.

by: RAY HUGHEY - Canby High senior Lilly Pruitt talks to Lee Elementary School  students about global warming and how it impacts the polar bear.
She visited her old classroom and teacher, Mike Ryan. It was a fourth-grade classroom when she was there. Now it’s sixth-grade.

Pruitt returned with a message about global warming and the plight of the polar bear.

Pruitt gave a presentation for the fourth-graders about global warming and how it affects the lifestyle and habitat of the polar bear. The warmer earth is diminishing the arctic sea ice crucial to the polar bears. The loss of sea ice reduces polar bear access to food and den areas. It lowers their body condition and the survival rate of their cubs.

by: RAY HUGHEY - Dyland Beers seems to find the lesson hair raising.She also impressed upon them how they can help by developing small habits such as turning off lights, reducing electrical use, recycling and encouraging less driving.

Pruitt is a volunteer with the Oregon Zoo's ZooTeen Conservation Corps. The Conservation Corps enables student leaders to participate with local business in making small changes in policies and educating schools about the environmental effects humans have on a polar bear’s habitat.

Pruitt and other Conservation Corps youth are taking part in Project Polar Bear, a contest sponsored by Polar Bears International. The contest encourages young people to collectively make a difference by developing community projects that reduce the carbon dioxide load in the atmosphere.

Young people are told how they can do something and now they can, she said.

Sharing her passion for animals has been part of her path.

“Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian,” Pruitt said.

Last summer, she served as a zoo teen at the Oregon Zoo. They learned about specific animals, gave presentations for visitors and tended and trained the goats in the goat yard.

That involvement led to her participating in the Conservation Corps, she said.

She also is serving an internship at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital in Canby.

“The staff there has been very kind and has been a big help in my path of becoming a veterinarian,” she said.

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