By Ashley Fortney and Marla Anderson
A few weeks ago we were invited out to Stewart Valley school to talk to the students about snakes and the work we are doing out in Sask. Landing in regards to tracking them. The presentation was on the afternoon of the student’s last day of school, so Ashley and I were a little unsure of how interested they would be in listening to some ladies talk when summer was just about to start. Luckily, we had a bullsnake to bring with us so it wasn’t all just talking and the students could see what one looks like.
As it was the last day of class for the year the whole school was assembled in the gym; including the teachers and a lot of parents. As soon as we walked in we could see the excitement on so many faces. The principal introduced us and away we went. The first question we asked was “Who likes snakes?” Surprisingly, all the kids put up their hands. So then we asked, “Who’s afraid of snakes?” and not so surprisingly almost all the adults put up their hands. The students were all enrapt with hands flying up all over waving with excitement to ask us questions. Having been only invited that morning we didn’t have much planned but Ashley had worked with snakes enough that she was well informed to answer the many questions the students and parents had. Finally we brought out the snake and let the kids all touch it. Some were scared but most reached out to feel the smoothness of the scales. It was then decided that we needed to name the snake and so “Stinger” was chosen, as the school team name is the Stewart Valley Stingers. The students were so interested that when the bell rang they didn’t even want to go home. Instead they sat asking questions and wanting to touch the snake. Eventually the principal had to stop the students so he could hand out report cards. It was a great success and I was very happy that we could show the students that snakes aren’t something to be scared of. Now if only we could convince the parents that too.