With the objective of demonstrating how people are interconnected with, and need, many of the animals we fear, the Assumption Antipolo recently held “On Fire for the Earth” during its Arts and Academic Week to show what niche these creatures occupy in preserving the earth.

Students from the first grade to fourth year high school, faculty, and visitors were given the opportunity to safely interact with a ball python, monitor lizards, boa constrictors, tarantulas, and scorpions during a stage program hosted by faculty member Aloysius Lorenzo, as their
owners and handlers educated them on how these creatures are interconnected with us. The call was to peacefully coexist with every species on earth; after all, humans can either be the biggest threat to creation or the stewards that can protect it from further exploitation.

Fear quickly gave way to curiosity, which then turned into delight as students got up close and personal with various exotic creatures while learning of their place in the ecosystem.

As a result, the general reaction was of wonder and absolute fascination from the youngest members of the student body to the school’s administrative team as they got up close with the creatures once considered “scary creepy crawlies.”

Speakers and organizers alike talked to visitors about how animals are crucial to the ecosystem; one example given was how snakes can control rats, which can harm crops and fruits in a farmer’s plantation. Emphasis was placed on the role each exotic creature played in helping maintain balance in the ecosystem, while explaining how these uncommon pets also need to be protected and treated with love just like the pets we’re used to.

(With additional reporting by Trisha Lampa and Martina Nevada; photos by Kathleen Villanoy)

This story appeared as “On Fire for the Earth” in Animal Scene’s May 2015 issue.