Cedar Falls native Barry DeVoll advocates for animals and hands-on learning
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -
Barry DeVoll loves performing his educational shows for families. Ten years ago, DeVoll started the nonprofit Blue Trunk Educational Series with a goal of putting an assembly program into elementary schools across the country.
"Assemblies that inspired teachers to teach outside the box. That was through my own personal struggle going through school. I'm a hands-on learner. Most teaching is done verbally," said Barry DeVoll.
Blue Trunk Educational Series currently produces 750 shows per year across the U.S.
Barry DeVoll returned to his hometown of Cedar Falls to perform his "Wild Animal Adventure" show. It was a fundraiser for the North Cedar Elementary PTA. The show features animals found in South America. DeVoll gets the children involved as he shares facts about each animal.
The Cedar Falls native said he's always loved animals, but it was a class project in elementary school that really inspired him.
"My third grade teacher, Mrs. Maynard, allowed us to build the rainforest in the classroom. We brought the curriculum to life, and through that inspiration I decided I wanted to work with animals," said Barry DeVoll.
"All throughout that process he was very passionate about learning about these new animals and where they lived," said former teacher Mary Maynard.
Mary Maynard remembers DeVoll also had a passion for magic, which he incorporates into his shows.
DeVoll loves to entertain, but he said the focus of his shows is the animals. All the animals featured are captive-bred in the U.S. and are not taken from the wild. DeVoll hopes his shows inspire people to take action to protect these animals and their habits.
"My goal truly is to reach as many people as we can to educate and advocate for the animals," said DeVoll.
Barry DeVoll hopes seeing his accomplishments inspires other students in eastern iowa to pursue their passions.
"You just have to have the passion and there's truly no obstacles in life that will prevent you from reaching your destiny. all you have to do is take that first step," said DeVoll.
"I'm really proud he found something he was passionate about and found a way to make the dream come true," said Mary Maynard.
As part of his passion for animals, Barry DeVoll plans to open an animal sanctuary this fall. It'll be located near West Des Moines and will be open to the public.
Multiple franchises are under DeVoll's Blue Trunk organization, including Bixby and Friends at Adventureland.
This fall, Barry DeVoll said his organization is also launching Free Family Fun Nights. It's a national tour of arena-type shows at no charge to families.
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