Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Program on Reptiles a Popular Attraction

By Carol Malley / MassLive Photo by John White
Clayton J. Yanowsky was just discovering reptiles and amphibians when the Boston Museum of Science brought its reptile traveling program to Granby. The timing was perfect for the seventh-grader, who is home-schooled by his mother, Echo Cooke-Yanowsky. "We were just learning about reptiles and amphibians, so this was perfect," she said. "We have two dogs and a cat, but no snakes yet," she said. But "he wants one." she added.
Yanowsky, a seventh grader, took pictures of the Northern water snake, salamander, and a 30-pound common snapping turtle brought to the Church of Christ parish hall for the program sponsored by the Granby Public Library. The reptile show attracted a full house. "We had room for 145, and we filled it," said Janice M. McArdle, youth service librarian. "Shows that feature live animals are usually popular."
McArdle said the show was held at the church because the library didn't have the facilities to accommodate it. Kayla M. Graves, 11, of Easthampton didn't hesitate when Matt Pacewicz, educator at the Museum of Science, asked for volunteers. He asked a series of questions, geared toward how to tell if an animal is a reptile. Once it was established that reptiles have scales, Graves was asked to feel the skin of a small creature as part of a test to determine if it was a reptile. She described the skin as smooth and sticky, which ruled out reptiles and allowed the creature to be identified as a salamander. Nicholas A. Tosoni, 10, and his brother, Nolan J. Tosoni, 7, said they like looking at snakes and other reptiles. "We found a snake before," Nolan said, "and once we saw a salamander climbing on a tree."
Hands-on interaction with the live exhibits was limited to protect both the exhibits and the audience, Pacewicz said, but he involved his audience of children and adults in an exchange of information about the exhibits, and he brought a rock python skin from the museum for handling. "We're very pleased with the program and the response to it," McArdle said.

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