November, 2005 Meeting Polly Whittaker: Alternative Habitat Design
|Date:||November 2, 2005|
|Location:||Cincinnati Nature Center, Rowe Woods directions|
November, 2005 Monthly Meeting:
Polly Whittaker: "Alternative Habitat Design"
The November program promises to be very interesting and unique.
When designing a captive environment for her herps, Polly Whittaker's objective is to create an aesthetically pleasing habitat that "looks like a bit of the natural world brought indoors".
Many of us have considered creating naturalistic and spacious environments for our herps, but only a few have ever actually tried it. Even common reptiles and amphibians become much more interesting in a natural habitat design when they can be observed moving, foraging, hiding, and just "doing what they do".
Polly has created large natural set-ups for her herps and has been quite successful. As Polly explains, her methods are somewhere inbetween scientific and driven by a gut-feel, but nonetheless her animals are healthy and growing. Although she does not try to breed her animals, some of her critters have even decided to produce offspring.
Although turtles and amphibians are her favorite herps, Polly also keeps lizards and snakes and many more unlikely creatures. Her methods of using only natural materials and trying to create mini ecosystems will certainly give us all something to think about. How many times have you thought that it would be much nicer if your animals had some real space and sensory input? What about quality of life for our reptiles and amphibians? (I know I have thought hard about it!).
To quote Polly regarding her methods of keeping herps:
"It's, at once, a spiritual, amateur, scientific and eccentric approach to biodiversity in the home!"
MEET THE SPEAKER:
An eight year veteran of the herp society Polly Whittaker lives in Cincinnati with her husband, 2 children and 2 step-children, ages 16, 15, 11 and 11. Although she is a Cincinnati native, she has spent a great deal of time in other places including almost 20 years inBoston. Some of her earliest memories are visiting her grandmother on the coast of Maine, and finding toads and creating homes for them.
Over the years, Polly has developed a deep affinity for toads and turtles, and she enjoys doing educational programs about these and other reptiles and amphibians. The educational talks that Polly conducts cover not only herps, but also ecology and bio-diversity. She has educated countless children and adults alike.
Polly grew up wanting to be a teacher and has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. Her career experiences include teaching middle school, skiing, sailing, and horseback riding, and working with at-risk children and their families.