Reptile Day: Students’ Favorite Day of Year?


Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“Reptile Day” is arguably the NDA student body’s favorite day of the year. How did this unusual tradition come to the Academy?

“Raija Hansen was a part of the herpetological organization as a freshman in 2014 and had a great idea to bring the animals to school,” shared Mr. Winkler, the teacher coordinator for this event.

Although Raija graduated last year, her legacy carries on. Reptile Day is an opportunity for students to encounter creatures that they otherwise would not be able to. The animals are provided by the Madison Area Herpetological Society.

“The Biology, Earth Science, and IB ESS classes all incorporate biomes and the organisations that live in them to better understand the composition of each,” explained Winkler. The event is intended to educate the public and provide a hands-on experience.

According to Winkler, it takes hours of preparation to make the event a success.

“During the summer, we start planning the date for the event,” he explained. “Leading up to the event, maintenance works tirelessly to set up the space and MAHS coordinates which animals they will be bringing. On the day of the event it’s mainly set up and transporting the animals safely from location to location.”

Winkler, one of NDA’s Golden Apple nominee, has always had a passion for nature and wildlife.

“Most of my childhood was spent outdoors so I have always had an appreciation and wonder for the world around me. Animals are so fascinating and we can see many similarities between them and ourselves – from elephants that mourn their dead to ants working together to create a complex network of miniature highways.”

“Snake day is so fun because I never get to see these animals outside of this day,” said senior Maya Abujamra. “I always look forward to it and we pressure all of our teachers to let us go down and see them.”

Mr. Winkler would like to thank Raija, the entire Hansen family and the MAHS for making this day possible.