Idaho animals take over school library

IDAHO CITY — Grizzly bear, mule deer and bulk elk, on my!

While all three may be terrifying they’re chillin’ in the Idaho City High School library.

“The specimens haven’t stopped coming,” said John McFarlane, Basin School District superintendent.

Two years ago, an Idaho City resident wanted to give back to the Basin School District. The resident is doing so by donating taxidermy animals — 23 thus far, worth more than $30,000.

“My wife and I are simply looking for a way to give back from a life of work and some success,” said the donor, who wants to remain anonymous.

The donor’s four children graduated from Idaho City High. The purpose of the animal donations is to give educators resources to teach wildlife, biology, taxonomy, environment and stewardship.

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“We intend to continue the project as long as we can until we have a complete Idaho species library at the high school,” the donor said.

The donor is a lifelong hunter, trapper and fisherman. He’s hunted in Idaho for nearly 15 years. Some of the animals donated have been hunted or trapped, others purchased.

“This project is not about the politics or economics of hunting, fishing, or trapping — rather, it’s about supporting the educational depth,” the donor said.

Students are using the animals as they write research papers. All K-12 students have access to the animals and can learn about the species by scanning their phone on a QR code, which takes them to videos to learn more.

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QR codes are placed around the library to give students facts about the 23 animals.

“It’s a very unique experience,” said Jake Standerwick, a junior at Idaho City High. “You don’t see a stuffed turkey or a bear in big city library.”

The donor works with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game since he comes across protected species that require transport to the taxidermist. Fish and Game even donated Caribou antlers to the school.

“It’s important to my wife and I that kids get an early, rounded education that includes a thoughtful discussion about the natural world, it’s benefits as a resource, it’s limitations, and our responsibilities and risks around managing it appropriately,” the donor said.

Eventually, the animals will be moved to the Idaho Center for Outdoor Education.

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Jake Standerwick