Jefferson Middle School sixth graders on Team Timberwolf got up-close and personal with some cool reptiles thanks to the Chautauqua County Humane Society and presenter Chris Duckett. Lizards, snakes and even a baby alligator thrilled the students. Mr. Duckett gave interesting facts about each reptile such as the Savannah Monitor Lizard is from Africa and uses its tail to store food.
“I liked all the snakes,” said sixth grader Matthew Blakey. “I really liked the boa constrictor. I didn’t know that the boa constrictors have live babies. That is really cool.”
Mr. Duckett, who rescuses the reptiles from people who buy them and then can’t take care of them, also told students that some reptiles do not make good pets.
Mr. Duckett’s visit is in conjunction with five sessions with the Humane Society’s Education Outreach Coordinator Sue Bobek. In class, students are reading books about a variety of topics having to doing with the care of animals, safety, and preventing cruelty. Mrs. Bobek’s visits include discussions how to properly approach animals, how to correctly choose and care for pets, what to do if you encounter a wild animal or stray, and general information on the Humane Society’s purpose. The last meeting will include a dog for the students to meet.
In English Language Arts, students are writing”Adopt Me” ads for the shelter to use, which is part of writing a personal narrative, but the students will be writing from the animal’s points of view. This activity is an extension of one of the books they read in class, where a girl volunteers at the shelter by writing ads to help animals get adopted.
“We started the program last year with the Humane Society and it’s been a great success,” said teacher Lisa Offhaus. “The students are exposed to a variety of animals and it fits so beautifully with our science, English Language Arts, math, even social studies as we talk about where some of these reptiles come from. The students love it as its hands-on learning and they love when the Canine Good Citizen dog comes in to learn how to properly approach a dog and to stay safe. We also hope to visit a veterinarian’s office to talk about animals careers too.”