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illustration of two woodchucks with heart

Woodchuck Love

Slurpee & Bubba & Pork Chop makes three.

by Anita LeBlanc

From the July, 2020 issue

While the kids returning to the Discovery Center preschool in June were happy to see their friends and teachers, they were over the moon to meet Pork Chop.

"Parents were telling us they needed to get back to work," says school director Debbie Belcher. For safety, they limited capacity to ten kids per classroom. Parents don't have school access and must submit health questionnaires from their car. Kids and staff receive front-door temperature checks, and family-style lunches have been replaced with individual servings.

Founded in 1974, the center moved into its custom-designed brick building on S. Maple Rd. ten years later. Last year, owner George Miller brought back its architect, Bill Meier, and builder, Joe Hammond, to update the playgrounds and to create a new nature area and path in the neighboring woods.

Last year the kids spotted a woodchuck enjoying their outdoor space and dubbed her "Slurpee" because of the unwelcome plastic top of a Slurpee cup wrapped around her head and neck. The Humane Society of Huron Valley transported Slurpee to its vet clinic, where they surgically removed the top. Returning from her successful surgery, Slurpee found love with another woodchuck, "Bubba." Last spring, the kids watched as Slurpee, Bubba, and their three offspring feasted on the school's leftover apples, bananas, and sandwiches.

The young woodchuck moved on last fall, but the couple remained. During the shutdown, staff members continued to put out food--and were thrilled to see a new baby join Slurpee and Bubba this spring.

Pork Chop's name is an homage to his plump form--he filled out quickly thanks to unlimited trips with his parents to the school's woodchuck buffet.     (end of article)

[Originally published in July, 2020.]


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