GC VILLAGE — Grand Canyon Elementary students have been learning about lands "down under" through the adventures of a stuffed animal.
Cheetah the Chipmunk sits on the McMurdo Station, Antarctica sign with travel mate Carol Crossland.
Cheetah the Chipmunk returned recently from a long trip that included stops at the South Pole, New Zealand and Australia.
The chipmunk served as an "ambassador of Grand Canyon." The adventures of Cheetah were designed to connect students in grades 1-6 to the library through an interesting project.
Nancy Green, Grand Canyon School librarian, said students thought of a variety of places for the chipmunk to go. Cheetah ended up heading off with a friend, Carol Crossland, who worked in Antarctica.
In a photo scrapbook for Cheetah, Green wrote: "Although we live in a beautiful place, it is so remote and isolated. We want to learn about other beautiful places and the people who live there."
In October, Cheetah and Crossland journeyed from Grand Canyon to New Zealand. In the city of Christchurch, Crossland stopped at the Clothing Distribution Center to get warm clothes for the trip to the South Pole. The scrapbook includes photos of Cheetah in various shots at the center.
From New Zealand, Cheetah flew aboard a C-141 U.S. Air Force aircraft for a four-hour trip to McMurdo Station, located on Ross Island, Antarctica.
"Cheetah appears in a variety of pictures," Green said. "It's kind of like, 'Where's Waldo?'"
The chipmunk is included in each photo of the scrapbook and can be difficult to find in some shots.
After more than a month at the South Pole, Cheetah boarded a plane on Dec. 3 for Australia. A scientist, Jon Everett, making the trip accompanied Cheetah on the next portion of the journey.
Cheetah stopped at Sydney, Australia, before going on to Cobden, Victoria, which is where a pen pal of Green's lives.
Green visited Australia on Christmas vacation from school and was reunited with the chipmunk. They continued the tour together in various spots around Australia.
On New Year's Eve, Cheetah saw fireworks in Adelaide and the next day, went on a trip to Kangaroo Island.
Cheetah then headed back to Grand Canyon with Green.
Green orchestrated the same type of project in the past when she worked in the special education program.
Lazy Bones the Bear went on various adventures, which also included a stop in Antarctica.
It's possible that the Cheetah the Chipmunk will be heading out on another journey sometime in the future.
"There are no definite plans, but it's possible he'll visit Africa because of Bryce Johnson," Green said.
Johnson is a former Grand Canyon student who moved to Africa with his family.
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