WILMINGTON — Peter Rushton recently brought his P.T. Reptiles educational program to East End Elementary School where preschool through second-grade students had a chance to get up close and personal with a tortoise, lizard and scorpion plus a variety of frogs, snakes and geckos.
Standing before an audience of wide-eyed and fascinated students, Rushton shared information regarding the reptiles’ habitats, eating habits, body weights and ages.
Asking for volunteers, the bravest of students and staff eagerly took part in the handling of, and wearing of, reptiles as they coiled around their arms, necks and legs, and stretched out several feet in length.
Rushton, a native of London, England who came to the United States in the late 1980s, credits his sons Peter and Taylor (hence the name P.T. Reptiles) for originally collecting his snakes, lizards and arachnids. Once father and sons began taking the reptiles to classrooms to better educate students about them, Rushton’s passion for the reptiles and working with young people grew. In 2003, he left behind his corporate career and dedicated himself full-time to P.T. Reptiles.
“I’ve been able to mesh my passions together and do something I love every day of the week,” said Rushton. “Kids respond very well to this program. They really listen once you get their attention and get them focused.”
P.T. Reptiles has toured approximately two-thirds of southern Ohio presenting his reptile show at day care centers, libraries and schools, in addition to birthday parties, church groups, corporate events and even family reunions.
The P.T. Reptiles presentation was made possible by the Wilmington Schools Foundation Gift Campaign, which awards mini grants to assist classroom teachers in providing supplemental instruction opportunities and materials.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.