Cornelius' Corner:

"Stories, Snakes, and Scouts!"

Cornelius’ Corner: “Stories, Snakes, and Scouts!”

Photo a corn snake draped over the top of a of book with with a green cover and the title "Verdi" and an illustration of a yellow snake coiled on a small tree branch.

Cornelius with one of his favorite books, Verdi.

Hi, everybody!

I’m so excited to tell you about my new friends from Cub Scout Pack #228 and the adventure we took earlier in the month! The scouts were lucky that they got a lovely warm day for exploring, and I loved being able to share one of my favorite stories with them.

I may be a snake, but I think literacy is very important for understanding the world around us. Through books, we can travel to new worlds both real and imaginary and discover really cool things that we might not otherwise get to see in person. This is especially true in the winter when cold weather means we can’t be outside as much! For this story time, we read Verdi by Janell Cannon. Luckily for me, my coworker Jessica was there to turn the pages since it’s tricky without arms.

Photo of a woman seated in a chair reading a picture book with three children seated on the floor in front of her.

Coworker Jessica reads Verdi to the Cub Scouts.

Verdi is a really good story with fabulous pictures. It tells the tale of Verdi, a little yellow python growing up in the Australian rain forest, who learns that you can have fun and be true to yourself no matter how old you are! I love looking for the extra animals hidden in the illustrations on each page. The scouts were able to spot a tiny tree frog, a sugar glider, and even a very well-camouflaged stick bug tucked into the leafy background.

Photo of a woman standing holding a gray snake for children seated on the floor in front of her to touch.

Jessica shows of Cornelius to his new friends.

After we were finished reading the story, the scouts got to meet a real snake (yours truly!) up close. We talked about what snakes like to eat, and the scouts made good observations about my color, size, and shape. They especially liked the checkerboard pattern on my belly. I may not be a tropic python, but I do have very pretty colors if I do say so myself!

The scouts also got to explore a snake habitat by visiting the forest classroom. They looked at the different parts of the forest and pointed out the different places where a snake could find food, water, and shelter. They determined that the forest had space enough for plenty of snakes to live! Following that, they got to search for what other animals share the forest habitat. Even though the soil was still a little chilly, I think they did a great job with their searching.

Photo of several children sitting on a fallen log in a wooded setting, listening to a woman standing in front of them.

Exploring the Forest Classroom.

They found tons of isopods (“roly-polies”) in different sizes and colors and a cool ant that was both red and black. They also heard a red-bellied woodpecker calling nearby. Even more exciting, they found a species of insect that my coworkers haven’t seen in the forest classroom before – a broad-headed sharpshooter. We normally see them in the Native Pollinator Garden by the Visitor Center, where they can be found sucking juices out of plant stems with their tiny mouthparts. I guess this one got woken up by the temporary warm spell!

Do you love reading as much as I do? Be sure to check out our Tales on Trails story posted along the Millrace Trail. If you have a favorite snake storybook, please stop by the Visitor Center to tell me about it!

Your friendly neighborhood corn snake,

– Cornelius

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