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JUNIOR REPTILE AND AMPHIBIAN CLUB FOR ENTHUSIASTS

My name is Travis and I am 12 years old. Over the last few years I have developed an interesting collection of various reptiles, amphibians and Invertebrates. My passion for reptiles started when I was very young. In fact, I can’t quite remember a time when these amazing creatures were not in my life. My first pet was a corn snake. His name was Jack. Sadly Jack is no longer with us, but those first encounters with him really established a genuine desire to learn as much as I possibly could about snakes.

So, a few months ago, I found myself researching frog species online. I could not find the answers to some very specific questions that I had which was frustrating. This led me onto thinking that it would be really handy to have some sort of community, who, like me, had knowledge and interests in reptiles and amphibians. If there had been a group like this, I would have been able to ask the members for advice. So, my question was – how hard could it be to encourage a club like this to grow? Mum was more than happy to help me with some phone calls and enquiries, and I worked really hard designing leaflets to distribute around the local area. We booked the hall, and planned the launch – our first meeting. I had no idea how many people would come to the launch – so I was amazed that on our first meeting, we had 105 people through the door!

Our good friend Paul Messenger from Pauls Reptile Den supported us in an amazing way. He gave up his time to visit the club, and with him he brought many of his amazing creatures. All who attended were captivated by snakes and lizards – not to mention the beautiful owl that Paul brought with him. The local newspaper covered the event, and the overall response was truly fantastic.

As well as showing everyone my collection of creatures, which includes a tortoise, 2 fire salamanders, a corn snake and giant millipede, we ran a raffle, tombola and craft table. The atmosphere and natural buzz was amazing.

So, that was the launch, November 2016. December’s meeting was equally as good, this time some visitors arriving with their reptiles. There was everything, from a bearded dragon called Dave, to a stunning corn snake, a chameleon and tarantula.

Bob FM Radio also joined us. I met Graeme Mack, who is the presenter who I listen to each morning on the way to school. Mum had contacted him and he had kindly agreed to come to the meeting. He showed me great support and encouragement. Graeme assisted with the raffle and handed out the prizes! I chatted to Graeme about my love of reptiles and amphibians and he agreed to come back to another one of our meetings in the future – which will be just great!

My current collection consists of a Horsefield Tortoise, Fire Salamanders, a Crested Gecko and Corn snake. I have also created a bug tank. Within the tank, I keep two hissing cockroaches, a giant millipede, giant albino land snails and a stick insect! All these guys live very happily together, and are fascinating to watch, especially at night when they are at their most active.

I think it is amazing that the club has proved to be so popular. It was quite daunting at first, but I am gaining confidence at each meeting and learning from all who come along.

The group will continue to run on a monthly basis, the venue we use is South Mimms Village Hall. Blanche Lane, EN6 3PD.

THE ALTO’S LAMENT

It’s tough to be an alto when you’re singing in the choir,
The sopranos get the twiddly bits that people all admire;
The basses boom like loud trombones, the tenors shout with glee,
But the alto part is on two notes (or, if you’re lucky, three).

And when we sing an anthem and we lift our hearts in praises,
The men get all the juicy bits and telling little phrases:
Of course the trebles sing the tune – they always come off best;
The altos only get three notes, and twenty-two bars rest.

Oh! shed a tear for altos, they’re the martyrs and they know
In the ranks of choral singers they’re considered very low.
They are so very ‘umble and a lot of folk forget ‘em;
How they’d love to be sopranos, but their vocal chords won’t let ‘em!

And when the final trumpet sounds and we are wafted higher,
Sopranos, basses, tenors – they’ll be in the Heavenly Choir.
While they sing “Alleluia!” to celestial flats and sharps,
The altos will be occupied in polishing the harps!
Anon