Do you know a child who loves snakes? How about a child who loves exploring in the park and asks questions about every leaf, rock, and worm? Or a child who wants to know how an airplane flies or what makes the trash truck so loud? If so, you know a child who is interested in science.
While hiking in the cold winter woods the other day, I began thinking of all the family members, teachers, and other adults who encouraged my interest in snakes , reptiles, and the natural world when I was a child.
Although no one in my family loved (or even liked) snakes, my parents allowed me to explore the woods and swamps near my house, bring home and even the keep garter snakes and frogs I found. My grandparents brought me to reptile lectures at the zoo and baked cakes in the shape of snakes and lizards for my birthdays. When I was 9 years old, my grandma even snake-sat for me while I was on vacation – and my pet brown snake gave birth to over 20 live baby snakes while under her care!
Due to the encouragement of my family, I developed a life long love of and respect for nature and science. My goal in creating Reptiles Alive over 16 years ago was to inspire the same interests for science in other people – especially children.
Watching television shows or looking at a computer screens are two dimensional experiences that have little impact on our senses . Seeing a snake or lizard in a picture will not inspire the same excitement as seeing a real, living, breathing animal up close.
Imagine the difference between looking at a picture of an apple on a computer screen and holding a real apple in your hand. Which experience will give you a better appreciation for what an apple really is?
A child who comes home from a Reptiles Alive show wanting to learn more about reptiles, is a child who has been inspired to learn. An interest in snakes and animals can lead to interests in other aspects of science. A love of nature and animals can lead to compassion for all living creatures and our planet itself.