The Friends of the James V. Brown Library will hold their next 2016 Book Review Luncheon on Friday, October 7, 2016. At that time Clyde Peeling, creator and owner of Reptiland, will review the book he wrote about his life, “Reptiland: How a Boyhood Dream became a Modern Zoo.”
In this book Clyde recounts how he turned his childhood dream into a reality. Since he was about 12, his heroes were Buffalo Bill and other showmen who both entertained and perhaps educated their audiences. In his parents’ yard in Clarkstown, he opened his first business – Bob Peeling’s Reptile Garden. And then there was the Peeling and Williamson Brothers Circus featuring a timid neighbor boy who was supposed to jump off a ladder into a bucket of water. From there, time at the Boy Scout Camp Kline, Indian dancing, and the Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge were major influences as were authors/personalities Archie Carr, Ross Allen and others in the zoo/animal business.
You may know that 2 years ago, Reptiland celebrated its 50th anniversary – from a roadside attraction in 1964 to one of three accredited zoos in PA, valued for what it offers as family education, entertainment, and a commitment to sustainable animal populations. Sons Elliot and Chad grew up at Reptiland and after college, expanded the business to include, among other things, a series of traveling exhibits – Reptiles: the Beautiful and the Deadly; Frogs – a Chorus of Colors; Scoop on Poop, and just completed Crocs – which are set up in museums and zoos across this country and in Canada. And it’s a full time job to keep developing and improving Reptiland in its original location.
In the past couple years, Clyde has been devoting more of his time in committees of the AZA (American Zoological Association) working on managing sustainable populations of reptiles. They look at how zoos manage their populations cooperatively with others to select and preserve animal species.
We hope you will be able to attend this presentation to hear more about Clyde’s career and the role of all zoos to save and maintain animals in a shrinking global environment.
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