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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on May 21, 2000 at 14:12:48:
PEORIA JOURNAL-STAR (Illinois) 12 May 00 Snake support
Operating under the belief learning can be fun and beneficial to the environment, science teacher Patty Massaglia has again spearheaded a conservation fund-raiser with the help of students at Rogers Elementary School in Marquette Heights.
This year students are donating $1,500 to the Illinois Conservation Foundation to help researchers study the endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnake. In previous years Massaglia's students have raised money for river otter reintroduction, mud turtle habitat and protection for hibernating Indiana bats.
"We let the kids vote on what they want to raise money for," Massaglia explained. "Of course, they had to vote for the poisonous Illinois rattlesnake. All the teachers cringed."
But the students were so energized by the project they raised a record amount through the sale of T-shirts, CDs, hats and other goods.
"Every year more kids get interested in what we're doing and we have more kids selling," Massaglia said. "All the while they're learning and they don't even realize it. And we're also helping the state of Illinois create habitat and provide safe environments for wildlife."
The funds will help buy radio transmitters researchers will use to track 15 massasauga rattlesnakes near Carlyle Lake.
The massasauga once slithered throughout the northern two-thirds of Illinois, but is now found in only three or four locations. As students at Rogers School can no doubt confirm, Snakeden Hollow is not one of those locations.