Beneficial Beasts

Handler Bob Tarter give Kindergarten students at the Early Learning Center a look up close of Stephanie, a Red Tail Boa Constrictor.

By Kim Jansen

News Report Staff

Kindergarten students tried to hold back their giggles, as presenter Bob Tarter told them his favorite part of his job was putting snakes on teachers.

And while he was telling about his favorite part of his job, Tarter draped Stephanie, a Red Tail Boa Constrictor, around kindergarten teacher Alyssa Nelson, which led to squeals from the young audience.

Stephanie the snake was just one of the many animals introduced to the kindergarten students at the Early Learning Center during the Beneficial Beasts program presented by Natural Educational Company of the Midsouth.

Students also experienced up-close encounters with Mrs. White, a Silkie Chicken; Mark, a Harris Hawk; Aslan, an Angora Rabbit; Billy, a Megabat; and Charlotte, a Yellow Lab.

During the 45-minute program, Tarter walked each of the animals around the room — giving students a close look — while he shared fun facts about each of the animals and explained each of the animal’s roles to the students.

“I know it’s a lot of things to cover, but you guys are doing great,” said Tarter during the presentation.

The Beneficial Beasts program is one of the many programs offered by NHECM and aims at helping students to understand how animals aide humans in daily tasks.

“From our ancestor’s use of falconry birds to hunt for meat, canines comforting and aiding humans to performing daily tasks, or rabbits and chickens providing food and warm clothes, each of these animal heroes plays a vital role in helping us survive,” according to Tarter.

To learn more about NHECM, visit its website at or find them at Facebook at NHECM: Natural History Education Co. of the MidSouth.