Lenihan students research tigers at Blank Park Zoo


A group of Lenihan Intermediate School students visited Blank Park Zoo on October 26 to do research on tigers.

Lenihan Intermediate School students on the Extended Learning Program’s Lego League team took a field trip to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines on October 26.


The team was able to talk to zoo staff Bonnie VanEllen, animal supervisor, and Jessie Lowry, conservation coordinator, about the behaviors and habitats of tigers and what people can do to protect tigers.

This year’s theme for Lego League is “Animal Allies.”  Students are asked to identify a problem within relationships between people and animals and then come up with a solution to their problem.

Lenihan’s “Siberian Tiger Soldiers” team decided to research building a sanctuary to protect tigers from poachers and loss of habitat.  The Blank Park Zoo was kind enough to set up a time for the students to talk with professionals who deal hands-on with the tigers and have the students watch a tiger get fed by hand.

“The students had a blast and were entranced by the fact we could get so close to such a powerful animal,” said Lenihan XLP teacher Vanessa Engel. “This was an amazing experience even for me.”