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Faces of Species360: Inspiring kids to care about wildlife on National Read Across America day

Faces of Species360 – Nannette Driver-Ruiz

Our next Faces of Species360 introduction is Member Support Representative Nannette Driver-Ruiz, who enjoys reading to her daughter as a way of inspiring her to care about nature and wildlife.

National Read Across America Day – March 2

March 2nd is National Read Across America Day and a celebration for Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The National Education Association (NEA) started the day in 1997 as a way to get kids excited about reading.

How reading inspired me

As the day draws near, I think about how animal related books have inspired me and how sharing great stories with my children will inspire them to care about wildlife and the environment. One of my favorite childhood memories is of my Dad reading Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I was too young to read, but I listened closely and fell in love with horses and learned the importance of being kind. Now one of my favorite books is Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall.

The Earth and I by Frank Asch - Nannette Driver-Ruiz
The Earth and I by Frank Asch

Connecting kids to nature through reading

My daughter loves books by Eric Carle, Mister Seahorse is her favorite, but she also loves The Mixed-Up Chameleon. Other favorites are The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and The Earth and I by Frank Asch. As we read these books together, she comes up with new questions about animals and how they live and she wants to learn more. I know she will grow up caring about wildlife and wanting to make a difference in the world. She already wants to rescue injured ladybugs and always makes sure we are recycling plastics properly!

I encourage all of you to grab your favorite book or find a new favorite, get inspired and connect in a new way with nature.

The seahorse in ZIMS

Did you know that there are 13 species of seahorse (Hippocampus) in Species360 ZIMS? One species, Hippocampus zosterae, Dwarf seahorse, is one of the smallest of the seahorse species ranging in size between 2 to 2.5cm. They are native to the western Atlantic from Bermuda, the northern Bahamas, northeastern Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. This species may be particularly susceptible to decline due to seagrass degradation. Here’s a few more interesting facts:

  • Thirteen species of seahorse (Hippocampus) are held in Species360 member institutions across four regions
  • In North America, there have been 94 births of Hippocampus zosterae in the last 12 months, according to Species Holdings


Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle - Nannette Driver-Ruiz

Eric Carle’s book, Mister Seahorse

Nannette Driver-Ruiz with her daughter
Nannette reading with her daughter Shelby

About Nannette Driver-Ruiz

Nannette Driver-Ruiz is a Member Support Representative for Species360. In addition to helping members, she also serves as the liaison for the ZIMS Medical team and assists the training team with Help documentation, webinars and training events. She recently took on the role of project lead for the community funded Animal Care Project. Prior to joining Species360, she was a zookeeper and Program Animal Specialist at Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

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