August 11, 2015

Up Close to Animals Presentations: What to expect

By Maggie Gaiero, Program Intern

I recently jumped into the wonderful world of Up Close to Animal talks here at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. It is a whirlwind of new information from the staff and library research, and then sharing it with the people who are so excited about sitting in our amphitheater to see our animal guests. When I began my first talk I was nervous, but as the presentation continued I fed off of the excitement of the crowd and it was easy to feel relaxed. Now to get up there in front of the fifty or more people who attend one of our Up Close to Animals talks is a piece of cake.

On bright sunny days people pile into our amphitheater seating right next to our Coyote Exhibit. Visitors are free to come and go as they please during a fifteen minute animal presentation. We have so many animals that could be viewed in an Up Close to Animals talk, ranging from things with wings like a Screech owl, to reptiles like our Ball python, even a variety of mammals such as skunks, opossums, and porcupines. Staff members take props such as animal skulls, wings, or even fur pelts for audience members to observe more closely after presentations. They might also share what we call Quinn Boards – or hand painted picture boards – to help display certain topics better. For a woodchuck (which could be seen in a presentation) we have some Quinn Boards that display their elaborate underground tunnel systems!

These talks allow visitors at the Science Center to have personal time with the knowledgeable education staff members that work here at the center as well as seeing an animal. Throughout a presentation people raise their hands with questions. After the presentation is over visitors can even go right up to the presenter and talk about the animal and ask questions they still might have. It really makes my day when after an Up Close to Animals talk a young child comes up and asks how to get my job because they are just so enthralled with the idea of working with live animals!

Up Close to Animals presentations are every hour from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every day during July and August. Presentations continue on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. during September and October.

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