Archive for Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Herpatologist exposes children to critters

June 23, 2004

Tonganoxie children now know more about snakes and lizards than they used to.

As part of the summer reading program at the Tonganoxie Library, children had a closeup look at snakes and reptiles.

David Nieves, a herpetologist and author from Kansas City, Mo., brought part of his collection to help children understand more about reptiles and amphibians.

As Nieves displayed snakes and lizards, as well as photographs he has made, the children watched, wide-eyed and grinning.

This was just what Nieves hoped he would see.

"I want people to smile when they see them instead of fearing them," Nieves said.

Nieves travels all over the Midwest, lecturing and consulting about reptiles and amphibians.

His work takes him to zoos, schools, museums, wildlife groups, and to the state and federal government levels where he shares his research.

He has traveled all over the United States, Central America, and the Caribbean's studying reptiles and amphibians and their habitats.

His interest goes way back.

"I remember when I was a little kid someone took the time to tell me about animals and that was how I got interested," Nieves said. "I'll always remember that. I guess that is why I do this."

Nieves has photographed and written two educational children books, "Reptiles Up Close" and "More Reptiles Up Close." He is currently working on another book, which will be titled, "Amphibians Up Close."

His plans are to continue writing and photographing reptiles and amphibians while he continues his field work and lectures.

-- Reporter Sheila Partridge is a summer intern at The Mirror. She can be reached at (913) 845-2222.

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