Biology animals provide opportunities for students:

biology animal
One of the many biology animals that are used for learning purposes. Photo by Patrick Nguyen.

By Patrick Nguyen:

The Amarillo College biology department is raising a number of animals in the Science Building such as geckos, hamsters, a bunch of worms and a hedgehog named Wiffy just to name a few.

All of the animals are being looked after by the lab and material supervisor or by the student workers.

Gerek Burford, the AC greenhouse director, said that the animals are used in the biology labs.

“Being a biology department, we think it’s a good engaging tool to have and know the students like to come by and say hi,” said Burford.

Burford also said that the animals are sometimes used during labs and for observation, so it’s important to always have them on hand.

The biology department also uses the animals for other purposes besides lab experiments.

“We keep microorganisms alive for the various classes to use for microscopy,” said Burford. “Some of the larger animals are used to promote biology, for instance at the last Community Showcase for local events all of our animals were used as teaching tools to promote interest in biology, plus who doesn’t like having a pet iguana?”

With so many animals already at their disposal, the biology faculty plan to get more animals once the greenhouse opens.

“We should have a couple hundred new fish over there possibly catfish, possibly some shrimp, crawfish or tilapia even,” said Burford.

Although the biology department has a huge number of animals used for labs, some students taking biology aren’t aware of the animals. Junyky Swe, a biology major said that she was unaware of the animals at AC.

Other students are excited about the animals sharing their campus. “I think it’s cool that they’re using animals as pets and for educational purposes,” Morgan Adams, a biology major, said.

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