The volunteer extraordinaire: working with snakes


Photo Provided

Megan Cherry poses with one of the many snakes she works with.

Colt Beat, Memorial Co-Editor-in-Chief

Since the age of five, Edmond Memorial senior Megan Cherry has held an affinity for animals. From watching birds at her grandma’s house to gathering information from books to handling reptiles and amphibians, her love for creatures of the world has only grown since her childhood.

To forward her career in working with reptiles and amphibians she decided to volunteer at the OKC Rattlesnake Museum.

“I have never worked with venomous snakes before, but they have always interested me to the point where I searched for snakes in the spring and summer, even though I did not know how to act around them,” Cherry said. “For sure, spending time at the museum has taught me how to safely handle and move these animals.”

Landon Vaughen, her mentor at the museum, gives her the hands-on experience that is required in animal keeping. His role as a trainer is to provide Cherry with the essential details about each animal’s personality and characteristics.

“Megan is the first one to jump when a task is assigned among the team, in addition to always listening and paying attention and not being afraid to ask questions,” Vaughen said. “From feeder animals to eater animals, she adores them all and shows the utmost respect and compassion for each individual animal.”

Her mother Judith Cherry is one of Megan’s many family members that support her through her journey of pursuing what she loves.

“As a family, we have taken Megan to lots of different kinds of activities that revolved around her interests, including butterfly museums, dinosaur exhibits and various zoos in different cities,” Judith said. “Megan has a great work ethic, she has found something that she loves to do and is putting in the time to learn more and see where it can take her in her future.”

Despite what others may think, Megan chooses to see the marvelousness in these kinds of creatures.

“Most animal lovers seem to gravitate towards mammals or oceanic animals because individuals tend to view reptiles as dangerous and gross, when in actuality, they are very calm and intelligent creatures,” Cherry said. “I really love being able to work with such exotic animals, as this is the most hands-on opportunity for me to be doing that correlates with the field that I love.”

The next step in Cherry’s journey is to study zoology and minor in herpetology at Oklahoma State University, where she can pursue her dreams to eventually do conservation work and help educate people on the beauty of the world.

Contact Colt Beat at [email protected]