Linden museum gets consulting firm help from student

Published 2:29 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It’s not uncommon for a citizen to request an audience with the mayor, but when that citizen is only 9 years old, a meeting with the mayor takes on a whole new meaning.

Third-grader Emma Macklin Lewis asked her grandmother, Patsy Etheridge, to contact Linden mayor Mitzi Gates to schedule an appointment to discuss some of her ideas for Linden’s proposed Alabama Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife Museum.

Emma learned about the facility from her grandmother, who is particularly interested in it since it will be located directly across the street from her home.

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The museum will be housed in the city’s most notable historic building, the Old Marengo County Courthouse, an antebellum structure that is on the National Registry of Historic Buildings.

Emma and Mayor Gates met after school recently in the mayor’s office at city hall and Emma expressed her interest in making sure that the museum includes a Children’s Corner.

According to Emma, “The Children’s Corner might include books about extraordinary animals we probably don’t know that much about because that would be a really good way to encourage children to learn about wild animals, especially the ones that might be in danger of becoming extinct.”

The mayor commended Emma on having such an outstanding idea and sought Emma’s input as to what Alabama animals might be represented in the through displays.

Emma, a self-described animal lover who enjoys watching Animal Planet, came up with quite a list including “white tail deer and turkeys – of course – and also rabbits, weasels, beavers, alligators, squirrels, chipmunks, bobcats, coyotes, and buffalo.”

Emma pointed out that not all of these animals originated in Alabama but that they could all be found here now.

She added that she had read about many of these animals in a book series at school when she first heard about the museum. She also thinks including displays of eagles, hawks, and martins would be a good idea.

Some other animal topics which might not fit into the Alabama Museum of Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife but that are of particular interest to this 9-year-old include the wild horse population, the humbolt squid, the lynx and the puffin.

Emma says she will continue to research animals of all kinds by reading books and watching Animal Planet documentaries.

She is very excited about the possibility of a museum dedicated to Alabama Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife locating right across the street from her grandparents, Ralph and Patsy Etheridge. Emma is the daughter of Amanda Henderson and Eddie Lewis.