SNAKE TALKS IN SCHOOLS
I'm a German expat, based in Taiwan since 1989. Over the years, I've not
only accumulated quite a fair amount of knowledge about Taiwan's
herpetofauna, but have also arrived at the insight that many people here,
especially the older generation in the countryside, still display a rather
traditional attitude towards serpents, namely "the only good snake is a
dead snake". I speak fluent Mandarin and am experienced in teaching
primary-level children, so I decided to help ameliorate this dire
situation through conservation work at ground-level, and started giving
free presentations about Taiwan's snakes in local elementary and high
schools. Each talk lasts about 90 minutes and includes general information
about local snakes, in particular the Big Venomous Six, as well as facts
about snake biology, lifestyles, and their importance for man and
environment, all presented at an linguistically appropriate level. The
main part of the lesson is a slide show, reinforced by a number of
show-and-tell props such as shed snake skins, snake eggs, and four real
live (non-venomous and very docile) snakes.
Thanks to various media coverage, reference material is available online: the Liberty Times ran a piece on my snake classes at Bali (八里) Elementary School, and two local cable stations did news reports. Here's one of the latter online: Part One, Part Two (Windows Media Player required). Here's also a photo report of my own.
The whole program is completely free, I do it entirely because it's a matter important to me: giving children a chance for a deeper understanding and appreciation of a highly fascinating, yet much-maligned class of animals, their role in the environment, and their beauty. As a rule, children do not fear snakes until adults teach them to, so I'm trying to enlighten them before their ophidiophobic relatives get a chance to ruin it forever for them.
If you're interested in this program, drop me a note.
Hans Breuer (梁漢斯)
Copyright 2009-2010 Hans Breuer & William Christopher Murphy