Pipe dream

MrsHaas

Arachnoangel
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
846
So my son is almost a year old now and I'm faced with a dilemma/opportunity (depends on how u see it) - I'm contemplating what to do with myself, as my husband and I agreed I would be a stay-at-home mom for one year. Right after graduating college, I got my CA state general B contractors license and started my own woman owned and operated construction/landscaping/renovation company. When I found out I was pregnant I had to quit working and put the business on hold BC it wasn't safe to do what I was doing with a baby in me lol. So I haven't been working since June of 2015. But I have had a lot of time to spend with my Ts and I've developed a big giant pipe dream of working with them rather than going back to contracting. I know it's ridiculously lofty, but would like to help expand the tarantula exhibits at zoos and museums. I've noticed that tarantulas are very underrepresented - for example, my local zoo only has 2 Ts on display: a G. rosea (of course) and an H. lividum in their "bug house." Even when I went to a special tarantula exhibit, they only had 5 actual live Ts max. And they were only new world terrestrials. It would certainly be amazing to educate people about tarantulas that aren't just big and brown. My husband and I spend lots of time creating life-like enclosures for our various display species (our adult pokies and large terrestrials especially) and we are keeping about 50 different species currently. I have a ridiculous amount of molts that could be displayed as well (I LOOOVE to work with molts, specifically artistically - I make exuviae jewelry, but it's not particularly in demand with the general public, it's really more a hobby). Like I said, it's a pipe dream and it may not (probably won't) go anywhere sadly... but had anyone done anything like this before? Worked with or for organizations, like the zoo or museums, and know the process of getting in touch with the right people? Or have any info on the matter that could be helpful? Again, I know it's a long shot, but, hey, u never know... :happy:
 

MrsHaas

Arachnoangel
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
846
Oh, and will post some pics of our enclosures when I get home later.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,059
I do something similar - I teach summer school classes about bugs and spiders for elementary and middle school students (at my kids' school) and do classroom presentations there. I also did a presentation on South American tarantulas at a Geography Day event at our local library. (I had around 14 or 15 different live tarantulas, with range maps and printed information on each species as well as general tarantula information, plus molts, a dead/mounted specimen, and plastic models.) It was a lot of fun - and a lot of work, lugging the cages around!

One big issue you need to be aware of when proposing to bring live animals of any sort into a public space like a school, library, or museum is liability. While the school has never made an issue of it, the library insisted that I have a $1,000,000.00 liability policy just in case any of my NW spiders ran amok, trashed the place, and slaughtered hundreds of screaming children. :banghead: (This was after I assured them that none of the spiders would even be removed from their locked cages during the event.) Fortunately, I was able to convince my insurance agent that - because the spiders are my personal pets and because I was doing the presentation as an unpaid volunteer - they should fall under my home owner's policy, just like if my pet dog were to bite somebody, so all I had to do was pick up a relatively inexpensive umbrella policy to increase my coverage. But if you were to try doing similar presentations as a money-making venture, you would probably have to purchase a commercial liability policy that specifically covers live animals (many of them specifically exclude live animals - as I discovered when I was trying to work out the details for my presentation at the library.)

To be honest, there probably aren't a lot of money-making opportunities in sharing a love of tarantulas and/or other inverts with others. If it's something that you are passionate about and really enjoy - as I do - then you can keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities at community events or try contacting local elementary schools or the science teachers at middle/high schools. Public schools may be a bit more difficult to get into, but charter schools and private schools have a little more latitude in terms of what they're permitted to do for classroom enrichment. Other organizations - like boy/girl scouts - might also welcome educational presentations. You could also try contacting the docents at your local museum - but, again, they're probably only interested in volunteers.

As for paid opportunities, you could look into local schools that offer supplemental programs - like after school programs, summer school, or evening classes - and present them with a proposed curriculum for what you would like to teach. Typically, pay would be on a per-student basis. It's unlikely to pay the bills - but might at least keep you in feeders for a while.

You could also look into doing children's parties. My kids have attended a few parties where someone brought in assorted creatures (usually reptiles, but sometimes they'll also bring along a tarantula) as entertainment for the party. I have provided the entertainment at a couple of parties with just my bugs and spiders. (I don't do the parties as a business, but I've offered a party presentation as my donation for my kids' school's fundraising auction a couple of times.) If you do decide to offer party entertainment as a paid venture, you'll probably need proof of liability insurance coverage and a local business license.

Good luck in your endeavors!
 

MrsHaas

Arachnoangel
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
846
I do something similar - I teach summer school classes about bugs and spiders for elementary and middle school students (at my kids' school) and do classroom presentations there. I also did a presentation on South American tarantulas at a Geography Day event at our local library. (I had around 14 or 15 different live tarantulas, with range maps and printed information on each species as well as general tarantula information, plus molts, a dead/mounted specimen, and plastic models.) It was a lot of fun - and a lot of work, lugging the cages around!

One big issue you need to be aware of when proposing to bring live animals of any sort into a public space like a school, library, or museum is liability. While the school has never made an issue of it, the library insisted that I have a $1,000,000.00 liability policy just in case any of my NW spiders ran amok, trashed the place, and slaughtered hundreds of screaming children. :banghead: (This was after I assured them that none of the spiders would even be removed from their locked cages during the event.) Fortunately, I was able to convince my insurance agent that - because the spiders are my personal pets and because I was doing the presentation as an unpaid volunteer - they should fall under my home owner's policy, just like if my pet dog were to bite somebody, so all I had to do was pick up a relatively inexpensive umbrella policy to increase my coverage. But if you were to try doing similar presentations as a money-making venture, you would probably have to purchase a commercial liability policy that specifically covers live animals (many of them specifically exclude live animals - as I discovered when I was trying to work out the details for my presentation at the library.)

To be honest, there probably aren't a lot of money-making opportunities in sharing a love of tarantulas and/or other inverts with others. If it's something that you are passionate about and really enjoy - as I do - then you can keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities at community events or try contacting local elementary schools or the science teachers at middle/high schools. Public schools may be a bit more difficult to get into, but charter schools and private schools have a little more latitude in terms of what they're permitted to do for classroom enrichment. Other organizations - like boy/girl scouts - might also welcome educational presentations. You could also try contacting the docents at your local museum - but, again, they're probably only interested in volunteers.

As for paid opportunities, you could look into local schools that offer supplemental programs - like after school programs, summer school, or evening classes - and present them with a proposed curriculum for what you would like to teach. Typically, pay would be on a per-student basis. It's unlikely to pay the bills - but might at least keep you in feeders for a while.

You could also look into doing children's parties. My kids have attended a few parties where someone brought in assorted creatures (usually reptiles, but sometimes they'll also bring along a tarantula) as entertainment for the party. I have provided the entertainment at a couple of parties with just my bugs and spiders. (I don't do the parties as a business, but I've offered a party presentation as my donation for my kids' school's fundraising auction a couple of times.) If you do decide to offer party entertainment as a paid venture, you'll probably need proof of liability insurance coverage and a local business license.

Good luck in your endeavors!
I'll PM me, Plz PM me back! I have actually done some classes at diff schools - my husband is a teacher. But jeez I didn't realize that u would need insurance!! I have more old word display species than new world - of course the cages would stay locked!!! But I can understand the liability aspect. Hope to talk to u soon via PM! THANK U for ur insight and info!!!
 

Olan

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 23, 2002
Messages
764
How do you preserve molts for jewelry? I was thinking of trying to preserve chelicerae + fangs. I was thinking of filling the chelicerae with epoxy and coating the outside with epoxy spray.
 

MrsHaas

Arachnoangel
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
846
How do you preserve molts for jewelry? I was thinking of trying to preserve chelicerae + fangs. I was thinking of filling the chelicerae with epoxy and coating the outside with epoxy spray.
PM me - I cleared my inbox
 
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