Skunks and Snakes and Skins, Oh My!

By Lori D’Alessio, Family Support Coordinator

The Arc’s after-school program is held each school day at the Atlantic County Special Services School for children with I/DD whose parents work until 5pm. Arc staff work with the children on activities, crafts, and homework, but every now and then they get to enjoy special visits, like the one they had last week from Samantha, an educator at the Cape May County Zoo.  The kids really enjoyed the 45 minute visit. Samantha wowed the kids with all New Jersey Local animals. They got to see a 32 year old snake (not venomous); a tree frog (who tried to escape and hop around the classroom); a skunk who was so beautiful to look at (they removed the gland that would have made it spray – lucky for us!!); and a beautiful bunny rabbit that they all got to pet – who was very, very soft!

Samantha and the skunk she showed to our After School Program children

Samantha explained to the children and staff the importance of not touching local, wild animals because they might bite. She also showed everyone an ostrich egg, antlers from a reindeer, the skeleton head of an iguana-rhinoceros and a beautiful leopard skin (the leopard had died of natural causes years ago). Samantha also encouraged us to come visit the Cape May County Zoo in the Fall and Winter months. She explained that the animals come out of their cages and are more visible and entertaining when it’s not so hot and humid.

The visit was very educational and some of the children helped to carry the cages that the animals were transported in.  A great time was had by all!!

The after-school program is just one of many Family Support programs that rely on donations to continue, and it’s very important to the families who benefit from it.  Please make a donation in support of this program today!


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