How do you treat a patient you can't talk to? Not to mention it may bite, scratch, or even fly away? Through first hand experience with animals like bearded dragons, guinea pigs, corn snakes, and ring necked doves, just to name a few, middle schoolers get an all around introduction to caring for a variety of species that may find themselves in the veterinarian's office. Situated on a portion of land in Queen's second largest park, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, or APEC, offers Vet Tech 101 classes alongside a myriad of other environmental education opportunities for adults and children as part of its overall mission to bring the natural environment to metropolitans living in the concrete jungle. Without many opportunities to interact with our furry and feathered friends, this may be the first time a child will administer a check-up to a rabbit, chinchilla, or lizard. From handling techniques to conducting basic physical examinations to making hypotheses about the health of the animal, the program gets kids thinking like veterinarian technicians and in the direction of possible future careers. After spending just a few short hours at APEC, the natural environment seems a little bit closer and the impact of humans, as well as our ability to make positive change in the lives of our animal friends, undeniable.

Music: Southern Cars by Patrick Lee