Students take animal dissection to the next step

  • By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
  • Sunday, April 3, 2016 10:36pm
  • NewsSchools

CROSWELL, Mich. — Students all over the U.S. dissect animals as a kind of high school rite of passage.

Not many, though, stuff and mount the critters afterward.

A Michigan high school is teaching students to do just that.

Croswell-Lexington High offered a taxidermy course for the first time this school year. So far, it’s been a hit.

Sixty students enrolled in the first two sections, and about a dozen had to be turned away, said Ryan Cayce, the principal at the school about 80 miles north of Detroit in a community near Lake Huron that long has embraced hunting and fishing.

Teacher Kyle Tubbs, who owns a taxidermy business, last year pitched the idea of a stand-alone class to Cayce, who gave it the green light.

Senior Matt Barker, a trapper and hunter, said the course is perfect for him.

“This is one of the best classes that I’ve had, because it’s a very hands-on class,” Barker said, taking a break from fleshing an opossum he trapped in his grandfather’s backyard.

Students in the 13-week class must bring in an animal that they hunted, trapped or found dead.

Road kill counts.

In Mieyah Brenton’s case, the red-bellied woodpecker the senior worked on was a gift from the family cat.

“I just want this eye to be where it’s supposed to,” an exasperated Brenton said to her lab mates before jamming a blade into the bird’s eye.

Brenton said many people think the class is gross, but “it’s just kind of something that’s cool to learn, especially if you like biology.”

The class meets state standards for science instruction, Tubbs said. Many students in the taxidermy class already have taken biology, Cayce said.

“It fits in and integrates well with the other physical science courses,” he said.

And art, said Tubbs, who points out that students who mount a full-bodied animal are asked to create its natural habitat, which could include representations of water, dirt and plants.

“Trying to make something dead look like something that’s living again takes … skill,” said Claire Knapp, a junior who was drawn to learning about taxidermy after taking an anatomy course.

For the students who didn’t make it into the inaugural offering, there’s always next school year.

“I never thought that it would be this popular and (have) this much interest,” Tubbs said. “It’s just really cool for me, doing taxidermy and as a teacher, to see the interest that we have with this class.”

More in News

A map of Lower Skilak Campground shows the areas that will be closed in July and August 2024. (Graphic provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Areas of Lower Skilak Campground to close for repair starting Monday

The East Loop will be closed — projected to be reopened at noon on Aug. 4

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on Feb. 26, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Sterling resident sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse of minors

Additionally, Crane will face 15 years of supervised probation as well as sex offender registration and treatment

Shrubs grow outside of the Kenai Courthouse on Monday, July 3, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former Soldotna police officer acquitted of 2023 assault allegations

He was found not guilty following a five-day trial in late June

A parade of cars and trucks flying flags in support of former President Donald Trump proceed down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Residents caravan across central peninsula in support of Trump

The parade came a day after an attempted assassination of the former president

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Most Read