Now that we’re all back to school, does your or your child’s classroom feel a little empty? Almost like it’s missing a tiny, fuzzy, wiggle-nosed something? Like, say, a gerbil?
My first gerbils, Napoleon and Perkins, were biology class pets that I doted on until I graduated, when my teacher gave me Napoleon – by then elderly, single, and my constant companion – to live out his twilight months. Once he died, I found I couldn’t go back to a gerbil-free life, and ten years later, here I am. While most students aren’t going to find a lifelong passion just from having gerbils in the classroom the way I did, gerbils are fantastic companions for students. I talked to Wendy Pavlicek, animal curator at the Burlington Science Center, about why she’s been bringing gerbils to classrooms for over 15 years.