MHS students visit Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative


This group of Marshalltown High School students visited the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative in Des Moines on Nov. 10. Pictured are front row, at right, Unmesh Datar, Second row, from left, Madeline Jelken, Phoebe Osgood, Fatima Perez Negrete, David Wahl and Caleb Summers. Back row, Lucas Thiessen, Elliot Weidenaar, Dayana Carrera, Emily Sickles, Molly Bach, Hadley Wagner, Ryne Downey and Anna Carlson.

Fourteen MHS students traveled to Des Moines to visit the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative (ACCI) on Nov. 10.  The group, all members of the Literature Over Lunch group (LOL) at MHS recently read and discussed the book “Endangered” by Eliot Schrefer.

This novel tells the story of a girl trying to rescue herself and a baby Bonobo as she runs from invading rebels in worn-torn Congo.  LOL sponsor and youth librarian at the Marshalltown Public Library, Joa LaVille, arranged to have the LOL students visit the ACCI as it is the only research facility in North America to house and study Bonobos.

An endangered great ape species, Bonobos can be found only along a small stretch of the Congo River Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa in the wild.

While visiting the center, students were able to observe the Bonobos through glass and communicate with them using hand signals as well as words.

LOL is advised by MHS Librarian Sue Inhelder and Extended Learning Program teacher Susan Fritzell. LOL operates in partnership with Marshalltown Public Library and funding for this trip came from the generous contributions of the Friends of the Marshalltown Public Library.