YADKINVILLE — Area youth got a chance to learn about some creepy crawly critters, rocks and gemstones at an event held last week at the Yadkinville Library that was part of their “Fizz Boom Read” science-themed summer reading program.
“We’re excited about this summer’s reading program,” said Librarian Malinda Sells. “It offers an educational opportunity and encourages students to continue reading during the summer months. We are very fortunate to be able to provide these summer reading events and programs through the generosity of the Yadkin Valley United Fund.”
Daphne Reeder, assistant director of Cold Blooded Encounters Science Center in Monroe, brought several cold blooded critters such as a baby leopard gecko, a bearded dragon, several snakes, plus a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, a toad and a tarantula.
“We firmly believe in education through interaction so a lot of our programs are either hands on or bringing animals out and walking through the crowd,” Reeder explained.
In addition to teaching children and adult attendees about different species of cold blooded creatures, Reeder said part of the program is also to teach all ages about the cold blooded animals that are native to the area and what to do if one is spotted. She said it was important for kids and adults to recognize different species, especially snakes, that are native to the area and to be aware that killing them can be harmful to the environment.
“Make sure you don’t kill [a snake] because they’re actually doing good for you,” she said. “We want to make sure that as far as the reptiles, that people know they are not something to be afraid of. They’re not these creepy little scaly things that are out to get you. They are just very misunderstood.”
Reeder said she has many people come up to after her presentations to say how much the learned about snakes and people have often expressed that now that they know a little more about them, they aren’t as scary.
At the Cold Blooded Encounters Science Center, there are around 160 different species of reptiles, amphibians and bugs on display, Reeder said. They also now have a number of other animals such as ducks, a rabbit and a tortoise. Just like at the program hosted at the library, visitors to the Cold Blooded Encounters Center will get a chance to see some of the creatures up close and personal.
In the afternoon session at last week’s library event, Reeder gave a presentation on rocks, minerals and gemstones. Kids in attendance got a chance to hold and examine various stones and they learned about the rock cycle and the differences between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. A sparkly piece of pyrite, known as fool’s gold, a brightly colored agate slice and a geode were some of the most popular items. Reeder said the Cold Blooded Encounters Center also has a large display of rocks, minerals and fossils that visitors can enjoy.
The hope, Reeder said, is that anyone who visits the center or attended the program at the library might decide to further pursue some study on the topics they saw in the presentation.
“People who want to learn more about rocks but are kind of nervous because it seems like this big lofty nerdy thing [this program] just makes it more readily accessible and makes them want to actually go to a library and find books on rocks and gemstones,” she said.
Incorporating life and learning together is important to Reeder and something she thinks everyone should get in the habit of doing.
“It’s important to learn new things constantly,” Reeder said. “I make sure that I learn at least one new thing every day cause that keeps your brain functioning and working and all the synapses firing. Even while you’re having fun you can learn things about the fun you are having. If you are interested in nature for example, I recommend just picking up a book on North Carolina native species and then if you are out on a walk you can see the things you read about.”
Just because school is out for the summer, Reeder said that parents can still incorporate some educational but fun activities for their children in the summer months. She recommend having kids read up on some native species in the area or the area the child might be visiting for a summer vacation and then making a scavenger hunt out of it by having the child find the items they read about.
For more information about the remaining Fizz Boom Read summer reading programs, visit www.nwrl.org.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.