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PA Press: Speaker to change kids' minds

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Wed Nov 15 20:25:34 2006  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

DAILY ITEM (Sunbury, Pennsylvania) 13 November 06 Speaker looks to change kids' minds about reptiles (Damian Gessel)
Danville: Chad Peeling lifted a tortoise high above his head and spoke into the microphone as hundreds of Danville Elementary School pupils cheered.
During a recent program by Mr. Peeling, who works for Reptiland, along Route 15 north of Allenwood, children learned about snakes, alligators, lizards and, of course, turtles.
"Turtles are the oldest living reptiles. They've been living on the planet since before dinosaurs, for 200 million years," he told the children.
Another interesting fact about turtles: It's impossible to tell their age.
"Unless you've had them since they were born, you can't tell," Mr. Peeling said. "This tortoise could be 40 years old, but it could also be 80."
Mr. Peeling came to the school as part of an increased assembly schedule this year. Danville Elementary Home and School president Jamie Fisher said the school saw an opening and took it.
"(Mr. Peeling) was available, so we had him come. This is a fun experience for the kids," she said.
And although Mr. Peeling admitted it's impossible to know everything about reptiles, he explained to the children that he wanted them to walk away with a better understanding of the oft maligned creatures.
"I'm here today just to give you a little peek into what reptiles are all about and maybe, just maybe, change your attitude," he said.
Mr. Peeling said he takes the Reptiland program to schools across five states an in effort to raise reptile awareness.
"It's not a good attitude to go around terrified of things that are all around you," he said.
Children later squirmed and whispered as Mr. Peeling pulled a baby alligator, named George, from a box on the table behind him.
"Nobody has ever been eaten by an alligator," he said. "We're too big for them to eat."
Crocodiles, on the other hand, are more aggressive and will sometimes attack people without warning.
"My father told me there's another way to tell if you're dealing with alligators or crocodiles. Jump in the water. If they swim away, they're alligators; if they attack, they're crocs," he said.
Speaker looks to change kids' minds about reptiles


   

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