Snakes, lizards and friends saying goodbye to Salida Middle School

05/02/2014 1:44 PM

05/03/2014 12:33 AM

The Reptile Education Club is handing in the towel, the critters, the mess and all the memories after 25 years of helping adolescents find the cool in cold-blooded.

The Salida Middle School after-school club of science teacher Laurel Peterson will end after a last hurrah today. The animals will be given away, most to the World of Wonders in Lodi, as Peterson looks toward retirement.

The final Remarkable Reptiles Show in the school gymnasium will include a cartoonist drawing pictures of people holding snakes. A cancellation stamp to commemorate the club will be available at the Salida Post Office.

Sammy, the tortoise of Colin Kaepernick, will be there in a football field replica enclosure. He may be sporting his personal No. 7 jersey, but he will arrive without his famous owner, Peterson said – the stars of this show are the reptiles.

Members and friends of the club from past years are encouraged to come to reminisce and reconnect. There were lizard look-alike days, when kids dressed in elaborate hair and face paint for the day. Cleaning cages, raising the rats that fed the reptiles – all part of the fun.

And then there were the shows. For all its years, the club has traveled to various regional shows to educate the community, teaching middle schoolers a little more along the way, Peterson said.

“One of the biggest benefits of the club is how it taught the kids to talk to adults. They had to work the booth,” she said.

It also taught a lot about handling animals, caring for them and cleaning up after them, all memories Peterson said she hopes to hear a lot of at the show.

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