Written by Deborah Bellomo Thursday, 07 August 2014 00:00
Iguanas, toads, and alligators, oh my. On July 30, Erik’s Reptile Edventures paid a visit to Levittown Hall for an entertaining session filled with crawling critters and fun facts to help his young audience better understand nature.
Erik started and ended his show by making everyone raise their hands and say, “I promise to always follow my dreams and enjoy nature.” Each child raised their hand vigorously to join him in this promise.
Many of the parents have seen the influence Erik has had on their children and are quite happy with the results.
“He’s great, the kids love him. They learn so much from him. He’s great with the kids. We enjoy him very much,” said Emma Reilly, a Massapequa Park resident who brought her three children, James,
Grace, and June, to the show, a family tradition for a few years.
“My daughter in first grade did a report on the cockroach, and her teacher said, ‘No one does a report on the cockroach,’” said Reilly. “But we had a newfound love for the cockroach just because of him, because he taught them all about it and she was interested. He’s the real deal.”
Local community member Jessica Ledere shared Reilly’s sentiments about Erik. “This is my first time,” she said. “My kids are enjoying the show.”
Erik displayed cockroaches, a frog, an iguana, a chameleon, an alligator, and a python to his audience. After introducing the animal, he would bring it around for everyone to see, and then pick a volunteer to interact with the animal by either holding or touching it so that everyone could see that it is possible to live in harmony with them.
Erik shared the story of how he launched his career doing reptile shows. He started as a veterinary technician and worked eight jobs before his present one. He was fired from four of the eight. “I kept getting fired and I didn’t know why,” he says. Then, in December 2005 he was fired and told it was because he was “too hyper and loved the animals too much.”
Two days later he flipped on the “Tyra Banks Show” and heard her say: “This show is about following your dreams.” He was inspired. He decided since he loved reptiles and was inspired by a show, he was going to start doing reptile shows. For the past seven years, Erik has been doing reptile shows all over the tri-state area.
Erik was adamant about reminding the children to follow their dreams because he feels it is useless to do something just for money. But, he was careful to inculcate the value of respect for nature the whole time. “Always respect nature,” he admonished, “because nature will always respect you.”