Ten animals, three shrimp, countless aquatic snails, and eight dedicated full-time caregivers.
The St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Science Club brings together students of all grade levels to teach responsibility and respect for all life forms.
“The club is a fun and safe space for students who have a passion for caring for animals,” says Jacob Lang, club moderator and science teacher at SMCS. “It is also a quiet and positive space for those who need a break from the structure of a very busy day at school.”
The time spent together also allows students the opportunity to engage in science-related discussions or to talk about other school-related topics.
“Some of the best conversations happen once the boys start engaging with the animals,” says Lang who is now in his fourth year with the club. “The club provides that kind of outlet for students to unwind and serves as a literal lifeline for our plant and animal friends.”
The Science Club runs all year and meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for about 30 minutes to feed the animals. The creatures in their care include: a bearded dragon, a red-eared slider turtle, some tropical fish, a few shrimp, many small snails, one bottom-feeder fish, an aquatic frog, and their resident coral corn snake, the former pet of Emile John ’87, one of the school’s vice principals.
Once students are finished feeding the animals, they take care of watering the spider plants, cactus, fig tree, money trees, and one very long pothos. Cleaning the tanks and enclosures is the final task the students look after before calling it a day.
“Our goal is to teach responsibility and respect for all life forms, and the work and effort required to care for all creatures, big and small,” says Lang.
“The one thing about the club that is enjoyable is interacting with the animals,” says Jonathon Pinnington, a Grade 12 student, who also comes back to school during the summer to take care of the animals. “Taking the animals out of their enclosures and interacting with them is fun and relaxing. It is a great stress relief, keeps you calm, and is something I look forward to each week.”
St. Michael’s College School offers more than 50 after-school clubs and activities that support academic, artistic, athletic, and many more interests. Find a list of the programmes currently offered at SMCS here.