Leave No Trace

When asked by Ranger Justin at White Tank Mountain Regional Park to lead a group of Girl Scouts on a hike recently, we readily agreed, recalling fondly the school fieldtrips we led at some refuges where we’ve volunteered over the past few years. The theme for this hike, we were told, was “Leave No Trace.” …

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Teachers Make the Difference

“I have a surprise for you today!” some teachers announce to their class as we enter the room carrying a cooler containing snakes and a box loaded with reptile biofacts. At that point, we realize that this teacher has not prepared the students for our visit, and they are not as likely to absorb as …

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Roadblocks to Education

After years of presenting reptile programs with live snakes in schools throughout Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Iowa, and Nebraska, we have now experienced our second year of facing roadblocks from the schools. First Occurrence Our first such experience occurred last season when we spent the winter at Desert National Wildlife Refuge, 25 miles north of …

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Classroom Expectations

Over the past nine years visiting classrooms to present our reptile program, we have made mental notes of conduct we appreciate from teachers, staff, and students.  Recent Visit One of our most recent visits to an elementary school took us through a decaying neighborhood blemished with walls of graffiti, windows secured with bars, and trash …

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Our Favorite Grade Level

“So what’s your favorite grade level to present to?” We’re often asked this question, but because we don’t have a favorite grade level, we never have an answer. Instead, we have discovered that any age level, any grade, can harbor students eager to participate in learning. The secret ingredient is their teacher. Passion and Attention …

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How Important are Field Trips?

Field trips not only offer a break from everyday classroom work, but also a new perspective that may awaken a child’s interest. Perhaps, more importantly, however, field trips allow the teacher to observe their students in a different environment. “As a teacher,” says retired middle school teacher, Jeanne McCune, “you’re able to have the kids …

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