Occasionally ideas slither like a snake around the Seed, and we never know where they’ll end up. Wednesday was one of those days. Each year around Halloween, PreK students take on the study of a creature that generally creeps out humans, creatures like bats, spiders, and snakes. Snakes are this year’s chosen species. Coincidentally, the Preschool 3s also have been studying reptiles, including snakes. And as it turns out, Andrew, our Preschool 3s teacher, has an uncle who is a snake expert. Arrangements were made and this week Uncle Mark visited the Seed.
Accompanied by his son and sister (Andrew’s mom), Mark arrived at the Seed with a California king snake, a stuffed rattlesnake and cobra, a rattlesnake skin, a javelina skin, and a stuffed javelina head. The javelina artifacts visited the 1st/2nd grade class during his presentation, since they’ve been investigating a mysterious skull their teacher, Hanna, found in the forest. Back in PreK, a room full of budding herpetologists gathered on the floor, joined by the Preschool 3s and the 3rd/4th graders. Mark showed a couple of stuffed snakes he had with him, talked about their scales and rattles, and explained the different defense mechanisms. When he brought out his king snake, he told the enthusiastic audience that king snakes can eat rattlesnakes. Upon hearing this fact, one of the PreK students leaned toward his teacher and said, “Did you hear that? So now we know that’s true.”
I had to leave before his presentation was over to teach a writing lesson in the 1st/2nd grade class. Interestingly, a true snake story from the Seed’s past was the subject of my mini-lesson for the day. Afterwards, as I walked down the hallway, I noticed the javelina head had made a quick stop in the Early 3s classroom. Small children eagerly surrounded it, petting its fur with enthusiasm and curiosity.
I had a chance to talk with Mark a bit about his personal history. As it turns out, when he was a young boy, he took the same taxidermy course as my brother did. Listening to him talk about this took me back to the days when we’d often find road kill in our basement that my brother found. He’d bring specimens home to use for his taxidermy lessons. Like my brother, throughout Mark’s life he’s always had a love for nature and wildlife. To this day he lives on a desert property, remaining closely connected to the creatures that live there.
It was a unique opportunity for Seed kids to see and learn more about snakes. Even more valuable, they witnessed a family enthusiastically supporting each others’ life interests. Their shared love was evident in the face of every family member present. Mark also expressed his deep appreciation for what the Seed offers the world. This made me happy, knowing the Seed community grew slightly bigger on the day snakes came for a visit.