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Stephanie Hodges, zoo educator with the Zoo at Forest Park in Springfield, speaks at an event Thursday hosted by the Adams Free Library at the Vistors Center.
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Daisy the Hedgehog is about a year old.
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Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but have a great sense of smell.
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Squash the Corn Snake is pretty easygoing, unless you are a mouse.
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Squash is a young snake but probably won't get much bigger.
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Sage the Rabbit was most likely someone's pet at some point.
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The hissing cockroaches are essentially garbage disposals.
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A few brave souls held the cockroaches.
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Hodges said Angus is a good traveling companion because she doesn't have to worry about him running off.
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Angus had a good day. A few pets and a few bites of the Visitors Center Lawn.
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Hodges said Cheese the Rooster is related to dinosaurs but has an attitude more like a sleepy cat.

Zoo at Forest Park Brings Animals to Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Children had the chance to learn about some wild and domestic animals, such as a bunny and a rooster.
ADAMS, Mass. — The zoo came to town Friday as the Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center visited the Visitors Center with some of their animal ambassadors.
"A lot of people don't get the opportunity to see nonnative species up close and personal like this," said Stephanie Hodges, a zoo educator with the Springfield zoo. "We think it is an enriching experience to have kids see something they might not see otherwise and it gets them interested in conservation and could spark a new passion."
The program is part of the Adams Free Library's "Tails and Tales" summer reading program.
Hodges had a variety of animals to show off including Daisy the African pigmy hedgehog. Hodges explained that her quills work as body armor and make predators think twice about approaching her.
She said the quills are sort of like human hair in some ways and that like many people, hedgehogs often lose their hair as they get older.
"Some of our grandparents lose their hair when they get older. When hedgehogs get older they lose their quills," she said. "We have some at the zoo that look bald."
Squash the corn snake was also in tow. Hodges said Squash is about 2 years old as she pulled him from his snake bag, the preferred snake travel method.
Corn snakes are pretty easygoing and can often be found in cornfields. She said farmers like having the snakes around because they keep the mouse populations under control.
Sage, the 27-pound rabbit, was a big hit among the kids. Hodges said Sage's origins are quite sad: a woman brought the rabbit to the zoo after the rabbit hopped up to her during a walk.
Hodges said this is something wild rabbits typically do not do.
"There is no way a wild bunny would hop up to you and jump on your lap," she said. "She is the sweetest rabbit."
She said Sage was likely once someone's pet and was abandoned. Hodges did reiterate to the kids the importance of pet ownership and explained that with pets come great responsibility. 
She said Sage has things pretty good now and has an indoor-outdoor habitat with other rabbit friends. And yes, Sage likes to frolic in the snow.
Hodges had some smaller creepier animals to show and brought out a Madagascar hissing cockroach. 
Some kids stepped back in horror, but Hodges explained how important the little critters were.
"They eat banana peels, orange peels — things other animals throw away," she said. "They are like little garbage disposals ... they are really important to the ecosystem."
And, yes, they do hiss. Hodges explained that they have little holes down their bodies and are able to force air out to make a hissing sound. This sound makes them sound bigger and scarier to predators.
Unlike the cockroach, Cheese the rooster was a familiar sight to many in attendance. Hodges said Cheese pretty much has run of the zoo and often gives visitors a little peck, encouraging them to give him a cuddle.
She explained that chickens and roosters are sort of modern-day dinosaurs and are closely related to the giant reptiles that used to roam the earth.
Although Cheese is related to velociraptors, they don't have much in common. 
"He is your modern-day velociraptor who is falling asleep in Sabrina's [Hodges assistant] arms right now," she said. "Apparently he is half cat … he is a special rooster."
The kids were asked not to touch the animals but were allowed to give Angus the tortoise a pet on the shell. He was eating grass off the Visitors Center Lawn and didn't seem to mind.

Tags: adams library,   animals,   

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Adams Preparing for Park Street Project in October

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The trolley tracks buried nearly a 100 years ago are emerging.
ADAMS, Mass. — Park Street businesses are being assured that road work this fall won't be as disruptive as the 2014 project that took three months.
"We're looking at repaving just the vehicle travel lane only. Compared to 2014 this is a much smaller and less comprehensive project," said Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin to a handful of attendees at Wednesday's information meeting at Town Hall. "We're not doing any work in the parking lane that is going to be untouched but probably unavailable for the duration of the project. This is just a vehicle lane only so it should be a fairly short, quick project."
The 2014 street project had includes sidewalks and ramps, sewer line and catch basin replacements and crosswalk bumpouts as well as repaving the entire street. Business owners had decried the upheaval that they said reduced patrons' ability to reach their doors. 
In this case, the sidewalks aren't being touched and the work should take weeks, not months. The hope is to get the reclamation done and at least a primary coat of asphalt on before winter to avoid having to deal repairs from another freeze and thaw season. Depending on weather, and when the asphalt plants close, the final coat might have to wait until spring. 
Coughlin said the road itself will remain open during the work but the travel lanes will shift into the parking areas along the street. Parking will still be available in public lots and the town was inquiring with some businesses about using their parking lots. 
About 1,100 feet of Park will undergo a full-depth reclamation, with an initial estimate cost of about $600,000, and sidewalk and other repairs along Columbia Street at about $200,000 using Chapter 90 road funds. The goal is to increase accessibility and replace aging infrastructure.
The road was milled and repaved in 2014 but since then, the unstable base of bricks and sediment has lead to cracking and potholes. The town's history is also revealing itself through the emergence of the metal tracks of the Berkshire Street Railway that were buried whole back in the 1930s. 
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