Bringing the outdoors inside

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-Snakes, owls, and more snakes, oh my!

David Hollaway, better known as “Big Dave,” visited young readers Tuesday at the Demopolis Public Library and he brought a few of his friends with him.

Hollaway, a senior naturalist at Camp McDowell Environmental Center, entertained fourth to sixth graders with his jokes, anecdotes, and animals.

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His main goal was to teach the children to be a friend to animals.

“Put you fears aside and open your hearts,” he said. “Everything that is here is here for a reason.”

Hollaway wants children and their families to be kind to nature and the living things in it. He constantly reminded the children to tell their parents the things they learned.

“You can’t tell a snake by its size or color,” he said. “The only way to be sure is to know the patterns.”

Among the animals were a cornsnake, a baby and adult gray snake and an owl. The snakes were all non-poisonous, of course.

The children were able to pet each animal as Hollaway discussed the animals and their ways of life.

The children learned about adaptations snakes can have as Hollaway stressed the habits of the gray snake.

“As a defense, they can flatten their head to a triangle to look venomous and shake their tails like rattlesnakes.”

Along with fun, Hollaway also taught the children some words from the vocabulary of a scientist. Niche, habitat, predator, prey, and scat-the scientific word for animal defecation- were among the words.

“If they didn’t learn or don’t remember anything else from this,” he said. “I know they’ll remember scat.”