Teachers didn’t have to tap on any Lincoln Elementary School students shoulders to remind them to pay attention and be engaged Friday while students moved from station to station at the annual exploration stations day.

If any parent or teacher poked their head in Lincoln classroom they would have seen students learning about different activities from a variety of community members. In one room, students’ hands were elbow deep in colorful slime, another room an orchestra of pounding hammers and nails crescendoed while students built birdhouses.

Learning stations ranged from touring Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue fire trucks and ambulances, receiving safety lessons from local law enforcement, learning the mechanics of fly fishing and much more.

Although many community members share their time or profession because they have a child attending Lincoln, some needed no incentive except to continue to help educate the next generation. Matt Edmonds, an Ellensburg resident, was one such person.

Lincoln students stared wide-eyed at Edmonds as his pet albino Burmese python, Banana, wrapped its body around his outstretched arms. Edmonds explained to students that most adult snakes can go several months without eating and larger snake species like pythons and boas can sometimes go a year or two without eating.

“Banana is 9 1/2 years old. He was a rescue animal and the kids who were originally here saw him while he still had his scars all over his back,” Edmonds said.

Edmonds explained to students that you only feed snakes frozen rats because just because it’s a rat and snakes eat, that doesn’t mean that a rat can’t fight back. According to Edmond Banana was named by a previous Lincoln class.

Edmonds refuses to name his own animals and instead makes a point to make students be in charge of that process and bond over the excitement of choosing a name together. Edmonds said that by doing so it makes students feel more engaged and apart of that animal’s life.

“I always bring a new animal, every single show every single year,” Edmonds said.

This time around Lincoln students settled on the name Tank for Edmonds’ 14-foot reticulated python, which is the longest species in the world.

Edmonds next placed a gym bag on a stool while students anxiously look at the bag uncertain what snake is coming next. “Remember Sweety?” Edmonds said. One student yells “’the worm?’”

Edmonds unzipped the bad revealing what was once a snake no bigger than a few inches now slinks across the table six-feet long. After only a year of growth, students in disbelief pet Sweety’s delicate scales; amazed how a reptiles body can transform in a year’s time.

When asked why Edmonds tours schools his answer is simple. “I like kids, and I don’t like people being afraid of something they don’t understand,” Edmonds said.

Edmonds hopes students will return home with a new found passion and respect for reptiles.

“I will come to any school that asks me to come and I don’t charge. I just come, set me up with some kids and I’ll be there,” Edmonds said.

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