Mail from Mr. Mannell

Today, the Techie Kids had a wonderful surprise! We received a package in the mail from the fabulous, Mr. Mannell (@RossMannell). He has been doing an amazing job of supporting my 3rd through 8th grade bloggers.

Here are the first comments that we shared on our Winter in Michigan post.


Here are the links to additional posts that were kicked off by these comments. Please explore them! I’m sure you will love them as much as we have!


We were thrilled when we opened the Australian package and found a book, Wombat’s Secret, a wombat figurine, and a token from Potoroo Palace, an animal sanctuary where Mr. Mannell took many of his incredible animal photographs.


Here are some of the amazing images taken by Mr. Mannell that he shared with us and gave us permission to use.


We found out that it took 14 days to travel from New South Wales, Australia to Michigan, USA. If the package could travel in a straight line, the total distance traveled would be about 9,600 miles.

View A Wombat’s Journey in a larger map


Mrs. Moore is an Indiana Jones fan, so she was excited to share this Google Map, Treasure Map style! 🙂

Since Australian animals were a big focus of many comments and posts, we’d like to share some pictures of animals in our area with you. Click on the book cover below to read our Michigan Animals book.

Michigan Animals


We are so excited that blogging has allowed us to connect with new friends around the world!

Thank you, Mr. Mannell, for all that you’ve shared with us!


Please tell us something that you have learned from Mr. Mannell.

What animals live in your area or are unique to your area?


What animal is most interesting to you and why?


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25 thoughts on “Mail from Mr. Mannell

  1. Dear Mrs Moore and Techie Kids,

    Mr Mannell has certainly been busy! I like all the things he sent to you and the animal photos are wonderful too.

    Of all the native Australian animals, the wombat is my absolute favourite. I think they are very cute but can also be quite cheeky. We used to have one that would come into the garden each night. Then one morning some plants from pots along the verandah were missing – stolen by the wombat! The wombat left them at the gap in the fence where it came in and out of the garden.

    As wombats are nocturnal animals we don’t get to see them too often.

    The animals where I live include wombats, kangaroos, possums and wallabies. We also see echidnas, especially during the summer months. There are foxes, rabbits, hares, kookaburras and magpies too. Occasionally we see two wedge tailed eagles circling high up in the sky looking for some food.

    Take care,
    Miss Crowther
    Victoria, Australia

    • Dear Miss Crowther,

      You mentioned some of the interesting animals that were unique to Australia such as the wombat. How different is Australia from the United States of America. Do you have the same resturaunts like McDonalds and Subway? Do you use the same technology as us? Like iPhones and iPads? What professional sports do you have in Australia? Baseball, basketball, golf, football, soccer, tennis? What kind of other things do you and your students like to do for fun? I am really curious as to how different our two countries are.

      Sean TechieKids

      • Dear Sean,

        Thank you for replying to my comment. 🙂

        I think like most countries there are both similarities and differences between Australia and America. We have McDonald’s and Subway here too. Infact, I had McDonald’s yesterday! It was a special holiday treat! We also have iPads and iPhones. But, I think America gets the latest releases first.

        Some of the animals are different and so are some of the sports. As we are going into winter it is the start of the Australian Football season. Have you seen any games on your TV? Basketball and soccer are pretty popular games at school. Some of the students at school play netball, basketball and tennis after school. I don’t think anyone plays baseball. What sport/s do you like to play the most?

        I wonder what other differences there are between the two countries?

        Take care,
        Miss Crowther

        • Dear Miss Crowther,

          Thanks for taking the time to reply to my comment! I find it really interesting how Austrailia is going into the winter season right now! Here in America we are currently in the spring season and soon going into summer! Baseball is probably the most well known and favorited sport in America. Personally, my favorite is basketball though!

          I have one more question to ask you that I’m really curious about! How is the weather most of the time? Do you guys get any snow during the winter? Here in Michigan it seems like the snow will never stop even in the spring.

          Until Then,
          Techie Kids

          • Hi Sean,

            I agree that it is strange to think our seasons are the opposite of each other.

            The weather in Melbourne is fairly mild in winter. We might think it is very cold but you probably would think it is almost warm. In our part of Victoria we very, very rarely get snow. I can only remember once in my life time that there has been snow and it melted fairly quickly. Probably the coldest maximum temperature in winter are 10 degrees celsius. Overnight it can go down to -2 or -3 degrees celsius. This past week our days have had maximum temperatures of 17 – 20 degrees celsius and overnight lows of 6 – 12 degrees celsius.

            It sounds like you are looking forward to your summer! What weather can you expect during your summer months?

            From your blogging buddy,
            Miss Crowther

    • Dear Miss Crowther,

      It seems like raccoons are the wombats of Michigan. Many racoons have gotten into chicken coops and have eaten my neighbors chickens. I had to setup traps with my nieghbor to stop the raccoons from getting to the chickens. The day after we set up the traps we went to the chicken coop and found the racoon. He was huge! The racoon must have weighed 25 pounds.

      In Michigan I hunt foxes, rabbits, pheasants, white tailed deer and coyotes. We love the vension meat we get from the deer its really tasty!

      Techie Kids

      • Hi Dominic,

        Thank you for your reply. 🙂

        Raccoons sound quite feisty! I didn’t realise that they were carnivores. Although, I have to admit that I haven’t really thought about it before. Wombats are herbivores so they don’t do as much damage as raccoons. What did you do with the huge raccoon?

        I have only eaten venison once before and it was quite tasty. Is it your favourite meat?

        Bye for now,
        Miss Crowther 🙂

        • Dear Miss Crowther,

          Thank you for replying. 🙂

          My neighbor took the racoon and skinned it. After he skinned it he took the pelt to the taxidermist and sold it to him.

          Venison is my favorite meat. The best way to cook venison is to marinate it in Italian Dressing. Then you fry the meat in onions. It tastes amazing!

          Techie Kids

    • Dear Miss Crowther,

      Hello it’s Liam here and I agree Mr Mannell has been very busy!

      I think it is very intersting that you have all of those animals where you live! We have very little animals where I live and not nearly as exotic though. To name a few we have the squirrel, muskrat, snakes, skunks, and segulls , to name a few. Mrs. Moore just made an eBook page that you can find in the top toolbar. There is a Michigan Animals book so you can see some of the animals in our area.

      You said the wombat is very cheeky. I am thinking that by cheeky you mean sneeky. But I’m not sure. Also, how big are the wombats because I was looking at pictures and they look about the size of a bear!

      Techie Kids

      • Dear Liam,

        Thank you for your reply.

        Your animals sound exotic to me! I like the sound of a muskrat. What does it look like? I like squirrels too. We don’t have squirrels in the wild in Australia. Are there lots of them where you live?

        Wombats are not as big as bears. They are about the height of a fully grown Labrador, although chunkier. I think cheeky is a bit like sneaky. Sneaky sounds a bit too naughty to describe a wombat. I think cheeky is like sneaky but a very nice sneaky. Does that make sense? Do you use the word cheeky in America?

        Bye for now,
        Miss Crowther

        • Dear Mrs. Crowther,

          Thank you for taking the time to reply.

          Muskrats are very abundant where I live. The Muskrat looks somewhat like an otter or a beaver. Muskrats are so abundant where I live that they named a local football team after them! 🙂

          You also mentioned that you have squirrels where you live. What do they look like? Because the squirels where I live are all sorts of colors!

          Now I understand what you mean by cheeky. Thats whatI was thinking when you said it but I wasn’t sure. Actually we really never say that term here in America. We usually just say sneaky.

          Good Day Mate,
          Techie Kids

  2. Dear Mr. Mannell,

    Some of the unique animals that are in Michigan are the robins. Robins are birds with orange underbellys and a black head. They aren’t very special other than being our state bird. What is your state bird?

    What are some of the things you guys do for fun in Australia? Here we play baseball, football, soccer, and basketball. I personally like to do tricks on swings I recently learned how to do a backflip off a swing and how to do a barrel roll off a swing.

    I also like visting beaches. I just returned home from sunny Florida. There I got to swim in the ocean, and eat a ton of seafood.

    Techie Kids

    • Dear Danny,

      Sorry it has taken me about three weeks to respond. I have been busy lately.

      I have seen photos of robins and find them interesting birds. While we don’t have true robins here, there are birds sometimes called Australasian robins.

      For our state bird and other emblems…

      My town has a number of sports available. Across the road from me there is a sports ground. It has two full sized soccer fields plus a small one for young children. There is also a cricket pitch and Australian Rules Football field. There are netball courts, a skateboard park, tennis courts, golf courses and lawn bowls in the town. A nearby town also offers rugby league.

      With all of these choices, I prefer hiking in one of the national parks around my town.

      Swimming, fishing and surfing are also big here. We are a coastal town so seafood is usually fresh and local.

      Keep blogging
      Ross Mannell
      Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

      • Dear Mr. Mannell,

        Thanks for the reply. Do you guys play baseball were you live? Baseball is huge in America. We have a great MLB team, the Tigers. Last year they went to the
        World Series. The World Series is where all the teams from the around the league meet to see who is the best team of the year.

        We also play football were I live. Are your football teams any good? Our Lions pro football team is not very good. 5 years ago the Lions did so bad they went 0-16 which means they lost all their games the whole season.


  3. Thank you for helping us with our lunch menu ideas. When we meant Canteen in New Zealand what we meant was the shop that operates in our school where we can buy our lunches. We have a shop that our students run where we can buy things to eat. We dont have a cafeteria or anything like that and more students bring their lunches to school to eat than buy them. Sometimes the shop is called a ‘Tuck Shop’ although that’s a bit of an old expression that we think comes from England. We are quite surprised about the American system of eating in a cafeteria.
    Thanks so much for all the comments
    Mr Webb and Room Five, Melville Intermediate, Hamilton, Waiakto, New Zealand.

    • Dear Mr. Webb,

      We have a cafeteria to eat in. Even though we do have a cafeteria more students bring a lunch also. We a a little shop to buy food from but the lunch ladies run it. That would be really cool if the students could run the shop.

      What part in New Zealand is your school located?

      Techie Kids

  4. Dear Miss Crowther, Mrs Moore and Techie Kids,
    I very much enjoyed reading your conversation about the different animals, sports and foods in Australia and America.
    I am also a teacher in Australia but I don’t really get to see many wild animals like Miss Crowther and Mr Mannell. The most exotic animal I see every day are our class pets – they are two Central Bearded Dragons which I believe are native to Australia but I think you can get them as pets in America too. Our dragons are named Penny & Sheldon after characters in The Big Bang Theory. Do you watch that TV show? It was very popular in Australia for awhile but now it is overplayed and people are sick of it! What are some of your favourite television shows?
    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Miss Fraser

  5. Dear Liam,

    Thank you for explaining what a muskrat looks like. I’ve always thought otters and beavers are quite cute. So, now I am picturing a cute cross between the two.

    We don’t have squirrels in the wild in Australia. Probably the closest thing we have to squirrels are possums. There are two types of possums – ring tailed and brush tailed. Their names match their tails. Sometimes if I am driving in the country at night the headlights of the car catch their eyes and I see two little red dots looking at me from low tree branches. They are quite sweet to look at but can bite. So, best admired from a distance!

    Take care,
    Miss Crowther

  6. Hello Miss Fraser,

    My class would love to have class pets like Sheldon and Penny! What made you decide to have Central Bearded Dragons as your class pets? The closest we have to pets at school are the goats and cows that sometimes break into the playground overnight.

    Did you vote on Penny and Sheldon’s names? I have only watched The Big Bang Theory a few times. At the moment I am really enjoying watching some of the new(ish) Australian dramas along with some American ones.

    Take care,
    Miss Crowther

    • Hi Miss Crowther,
      Our class love having Penny and Sheldon as pets. They often have them sitting on their tables or on the floor with them as they work.We have had them since they were babies – they are 1 year and 4 months old now. We decided to get them as class pets mostly because I was really interested in them and because my partner wouldn’t let me have them as pets at home! Also, my teaching partner Caroline loves lizards so she was very excited to get them too. We had a whole school competition to name the dragons and had some very interesting suggestions from the Prep classes. My favourite suggestions were “Fishcrab”, “Cityhead” and “Puff”. I think they made those names up – very creative though. All suggestions were shortlisted and then my class last year voted on the names Penny & Sheldon.
      I know what you mean about having farm animals visiting your school! At my high school, we were next to farmland and often had escaped cows and sheep come to visit! They’re turned those farms into a housing estate now, which is a shame but it’s also where my parents have built their new house.
      Thank you for your reply. Do you have a class blog that we can visit?
      From, Miss Fraser 🙂

      • Hi Miss Fraser,

        It sounds like Penny and Sheldon are much loved class pets. You certainly had some interesting name suggestions for them! I wonder if they realise how close they came to being Fishcrab or Cityhead?!

        I do have a class blog. It’s Do you have one we can visit?

        Hope to hear from you soon!

        Miss Crowther

  7. Hi Techie Kids.
    Some animals that live in our area are,,,
    Owls and HEAPS of birds and bugs

    From Chelsea and Mia (Killara)

    • Dear Chelsea and Mia,

      Since the animals that you see are kangaroos you must live in Australia or New Zealand. What is your favorite animal? Mine is the monkey. Where I live there are bears, wolves, birds, raccoons, and some types of snakes. We also have owls and frogs where we live too.

      Techie Kids

  8. Hello Techie Kids,

    After a few weeks busy filming and DVD editing, I am coming back on line. When I have a film project I can fall behind blog visits and then must try to catch up. The recent projects were a town’s music festival (I can’t share anything about this as yet) and ANZAC Day ceremonies in three local towns (link below to see a blog post about ANZAC Day).

    Towards the end of May I will be starting two more DVD projects. One is so a boy being treated for leukemia can see what his friends are doing to show their support for him. The second will be of the performance for a music camps involving students from 13 primary (elementary) and 2 high schools.

    Your post…

    Your use of my photos in a slideshow is exactly the type of use I had hoped students and school would make of them. As much as possible my current posts to my blogs will allow schools and students to use contents. 🙂

    I found your “Michigan Animals” fascinating from the black bear to the robin.
    I was surprised to see you have a species of tiger in Michigan. I did a little research but couldn’t find the scientific name for this particular tiger subspecies but, as the tiger is Panthera tigris, I suspect its name might be Panthera tigris Detroit.

    Further research into the Detroit Tiger shows me it has a range of prey and can be seasonal. It seems in May it poses a particular danger for Astros, Indians, Twins and Pirates.

    Your questions…
    What animals live in your area or are unique to your area?

    I have shared many of my photos of animals but I had a new idea when hiking yesterday. What about animal tracks? Here is a link…

    What animal is most interesting to you and why?

    I particularly liked the bald eagle. Our largest eagle is the wedge-tailed eagle and can be seen in many areas of Australia. It isn’t our national bird like the bald eagle is for you. Australia’s Coat of Arms has the emu and kangaroo featured.

    I have seen wedge-tailed eagles and sea eagles soaring high in the sky when I’ve been hiking. Eagles are incredible birds.

    Keep blogging,
    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

  9. Dear Mr. Mannell,

    I see that you are interested in the Bald Eagle! I have seen a bald eagle once. They are very pretty birds, don’t you think?
    I’m very interested in lions. I think that they are very beautiful. Sometimes my family jokes around and says I have a mane like a lion 😉 Do you see lions in Australia? We definitely do not have them here! Do you take pictures of the animals you see there? I do if I see an animal that I think is really cool or pretty.

    Techie Kids