Bad Choices

During summer camp, which was held in the old, walled garden, nestled between the buildings and woods
of Sabot at Stony Point, a bad thing happened. There has been talk of copperheads on the property, which is surrounded by woods, which in turn are getting squeezed by construction all around. Teachers are vigilant, and students who go to the school know what to look for.
On Thursday a copperhead took shelter in this hole in the wall. Owen, an eagle-eyed pre-schooler, and Sarah Anne, a teacher, spotted it. The camp teachers knew what to do, and quickly blocked off the area so the children wouldn't go near. Then we watched and debated, confirmed that it was a copperhead and not a corn snake, conferred, and finally decided what should be done. Now I love reptiles, and am usually the one trying to pick snakes up, catch frogs and toads, salamanders and skinks. But this was a copperhead (you can tell by the eliptical eyes), and despite the fact that we know he was there for good snake reasons, we couldn't let him be on the school grounds. I even called my Mom (mountain woman that she is), to be sure. 

Children were mad at me...I was sad, but also felt sure. After I killed the snake, Jaya, Nora and some other children made this sign;
and circulated this poll;

 I was the only one who answered yes.

Later, they forgave me and came back to the art tent. Hannah and Emma made some snakes to place around the garden to startle people, and we talked about things. Hannah said I had a hard choice, to let the snake be safe or to let the children be safe. 

That was a hard choice. I'd like to blame the developers who build the "new homes", but really, it was me. My friend over at brooklynometry got it right about species we don't want to live with in her post today..."it's not their fault...nature is a handful."


  1. I think you're very brave.

    Mine was not as difficult, but we had to get rid of a rat at one point that was dining on some rotting pumpkins in our garden. I didn't involve the kids, but reading this I wish I had.

  2. The poisonous snake had to go.((hugs))

  3. Anna,
    I saw Gina R. right after this happened, and she was shaken up. We talked about it and it was interesting as parents and fellow nature respecters (word?) how conflicted we felt as well... The parent of course is horrified as to what might have happened to the itty bitties if bitten.... Is there serum on site, how to secure the area, how do we protect our children... The nature lovers in us in awe at the absolute spectacular nature that surrounds the campus and the ready accessability that the teachers and children have to being in nature and enjoying it.... and wanting to honor and preserve this. I personally remove worms, spiders, other bugs and such to safer areas from our home.... but admit to having a deep primitive aversive reaction to snakes. That said, I know my heart would have been broken to have to make the decision that you did to protect the children.... I can see the terrible position you were in. Thank you for honoring the snake and the dilemna (of man versus nature)by helping the children process this the way you did.....


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