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 Educating the Public

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MADKATTER
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PostSubject: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:06 pm

I was thinking a bit about these proposed snake bans and how we as lovers of the animals they are trying to ban, are fighting to preserve our rights. Speaking for myself, I know that I feel a bit helpless when it comes to stuff like this. Most people in the same helpless situation as me , probably do the same thing like right letters to political officials and join groups that are fighting for us. These are all great things but sometimes I feel like they are just run-of-the-mill approaches to another rights encroachment and that these cries of "trampled rights" just get filed in the "just another group whining" drawer. I also hear a lot that there will be awareness info available and passed out at reptile shows. The only problem with this is that about 98% of the people at the show are already aware and unless they brought their snake-hating neighbor, there really isn't anyone to educate. So hear comes that thinking part that I mentioned at the beginning. Why don't we align ourselves with other groups that constantly have to protect their rights and raise the proper awareness. Maybe align is too strong a word but at least share their platform temporarily in order to spread the word to people who wouldn't normally hear it. For example, a gun show. Why couldn't we put a reptile exhibit together for educational purposes only, no sales. We set up a booth with a collection of the friendliest reptiles we have and let people come by and check us out. We can pass out info there to people who will sympathetic to our plight. There are other shows as well. Tattoo shows (one is coming up in March at the HRCC). Tattoo artists fought for their rights and have succeeded for the most part. Maybe we could even get a discounted table because we are not selling anything. I am sure there are a lot of shows we could squat on that I haven't mentioned. What do you guys think?
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Focal
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:40 pm

That's a good idea. I created a thread long ago on another forum about what other hobbies reptile enthusiasts shared and there seemed to be a common trend. I would imagine most of the people at gun and tattoo shows would be the most accepting crowd of reptiles and would spread the word further.
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Docwade87
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:01 pm

great idea!! I agree 100% and it has crossed my mind a few times to go to these types of events and try and get more support. I have a half sleeve and a few other random tats and several weapons! I am in all three areas here and know plenty more reptile keepers that are as well. Let us know what you have in mind and maybe we can come together to help you out.
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jw
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:03 pm

The Virginia Herpetological Society does a tremendous job educating the general public. The vast majority of which is snake related. This page lists some of last year's educational efforts:
http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/education/educationalcommittee.htm

In 2012 we will or have:

Helped produce a herp guide for the Washington D.C., Metropolitan Area.
Worked with the DGIF to produce the VA Frog Guide - https://www3.dgif.virginia.gov/estore/proddetail.asp?prod=VW256
Working with the DGIF on the VA Turtle Guide.
Participated in the Virginia Living Museum's Reptile Weekend
Training Virginia State Park Interpreters on snakes and other native herps.
Provide at least 4 surveys open to the general public.
Many of us will do multiple educational presentations at schools, libraries, parks, special events, and other facilities.
Answer several thousand emails requesting herp identifications.

Unfortunately, we receive more requests than we have people power to fill. We frequently get request from home owner associations, stores that sell hiking and outdoor equipment, and the numerous festivals that happen all around the state. If you would like to get involved in educating the general public about snakes, we could use the help.



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Don
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:25 pm

Yes, joining the VHS is a great step in helping to educate the public. I've become a member and encourage everyone to sign up.
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smb2585
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:17 pm

Sounds like a great idea... we can only do so much as a single person but can do more as a group that works together.
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Docwade87
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:23 pm

I definitely think that VHS is a great idea, and I will most definitely look into it. However, would y'all go to a gun show or tattoo expo and have a table like the OP is talking about? I think these are two great options in that not all of these people that go to these shows would come out to a "reptile education show" or however you refer to them; neither say that they wouldn't, but it has a good possibility of getting more eyes on since so many thousands of people attend these types of expos.
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jw
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:36 pm

To my knowledge, the VHS as never turned-down an opportunity to educate for any reason other than simply not having enough people to fill the demand. Often the VHS is not the primary attraction. We often have a table or booth with educational material displayed, if permitted a few live animals and friendly knowledgeable people to answer questions.

In addition to public outreach programs, we also encourage herpetology around the state by offering monetary grants and supporting pro-reptile facilities like the Luray Zoo, the VLM, etc.
See: http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/funds/funds.htm

So far this year we have made a donation to the Wildlife Center of Virginia to support the amazing work they do for injured herps.



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MADKATTER
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:24 pm

Believe me, I am not challenging VHS nor am I saying that they do not do a great job. What I am suggesting is a little more "in your face" awareness and I think a good way to do that is to tug at the heart strings of different organizations that are fully aware of what it takes to protect our rights. I just don't think that a conventional approach is going to achieve what we want when you have cable programs suggesting that large constrictors will be able to spread as far as the southern tip of Virginia, all across the lower 48, to parts of California. Based on what? Scientific data? Show me.

I think that talking to people who share a passion that is constantly under threat is a good way to garner more support in fighting this ban. I am of the mindset that money=power and votes=power (those 2 are synonymous) and that is the only thing that some people will listen to. There are a lot of cities that host what may be considered controversial events (Gun shows, tattoo exhibits, etc...) and they will continue to hold those events because of the revenue that it generates. Same thing with fossil fuels. You are kidding yourself if you think that oil is going away anytime soon. A politician will tell you out of one side of their mouth how they are going to reduce fossil fuel consumption while they seal a deal for a better price on fossil fuels out of the other side. My opinion and suggestion is a little more aggressive and outside of the box approach to fighting the ban. Just sayin.

P.S.
How can I personally be more supportive to VHS? Where can I get more info regarding that subject? Also, I will take the first step towards this aggressive approach and find out the details of setting up an exhibit at a local show and keep everyone posted.
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Jabberwocky Dragons
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:44 pm

I would be happy to volunteer some time to work such a booth at a local gun show. There are a couple regular large ones in Hampton Roads. I think it is a great idea!
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jw
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:52 pm

Attempting to bond with people that have faced (or are facing) similar prohibitive legislation may be an effective strategy. However, it has been my experience that people will only protect or fight for what they care about. The vast majority of the general public fear snakes out of ignorance and this results in blind hatred. If we can cure some of the ignorance, it will alleviate some of the hate.

To become involved with the VHS you can contact lefttolarry on this site. Larry is the VHS President. Or use this contact page: http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/contacts/vhs-contacts.htm

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Don
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:56 pm

Also gun shows do not even let VCDL inside their shows. They have to host a table outside near the ticket takers. VCDL is the premiere lobbying group for Virginia gun rights, so I doubt they would let a reptile table in for free.
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MADKATTER
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:20 pm

I didn't say for free. Remember money talks. This is the dedication part. We would probably have to pay for a table just like the rest of the folks and I think it would be worth it even if only a handful people really listened. Also, there is nothing wrong with a friendly bet with an NRA member. Such as "If I get 10 people to join the NRA, you get 10 people to join VHS". Of course I am not limiting this to just a gun show. I am just using this as an example.

P.S.
I love you guys. This is probably one of the few forums left on the internet where you can have a constructive, helpful, and respectively critical conversation amongst fellow enthusiasts. :Sniff: I am tearing up a little...
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Docwade87
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:47 pm

I am right on track with you MADKATTER. I really like your thoughts on all of this and was hoping you were going to say all that you have!! Let me know what I can do to help. I have an in already on vending in the gun shows here in Richmond and possibly around the state. Also, as mentioned above, I have a friend who owns a tattoo parlor and where I get my work done at and they go to shows all the time.....def some options to play and poke around with.
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Lokielani
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PostSubject: Re: Educating the Public   Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:24 pm

I think it's a great idea. My husband and I belong to the NRA and go to gun shows occasionally, it would be cool to see a reptile booth Smile I think a lot of the people that go to them would at least pick up a flyer or listen a bit. I'm sure a few people would join VHS too.
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