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Snakes Alive!
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February 20, 2017
Green Teacher

Originally appears in the Winter 2017 issue

Photographs: Catherine E. Matthews

SAKES (OR SNAKES) ALIVE! is an old idiom meaning ‘surprise’, which is the emotion that most people experience when they unexpectedly see a live snake in the wild. Snakes on exhibit and snake programs have always drawn the public’s attention. Park rangers report that live snake programs are always well attended and draw a very bi-modal clientele – people who love snakes and people who hate snakes, making presentations especially challenging. It is likely that your grandparents and maybe your parents and maybe even you were raised with the notion that ‘The Only Good Snake is a Dead Snake.’ We’re out to prove that mantra wrong!

Our Snakes Alive! summer program for high school students teaches students about snake identification, anatomy, ecology, and behavior while building empathy for snakes. Although it was designed for informal science educators we believe that it is a program that can be implemented by high school biology and ecology teachers. This article advises educators on how to implement the week-long program which is available on The Herp Project website.


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