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Poison Control Teaches Kids Safety With El Paso’s Insects and Wildlife


Salvador Quintanilla from West Texas Regional Poison Center visited the students at Cesar Chavez Head Start to share with them the habits and lives of insects and creatures indigenous to El Paso and the Chihuahuan Desert.

Quintanilla brought various spiders, scorpions, centipedes and other creatures commonly found around El Paso and taught the children to respect the animals in their habitat, to avoid accidents.

“Providing this experience for the children is part of our many safety lessons here at Head Start,” says Head Start Teacher, Eva Quintero. “The seasons are changing and as the weather warms up kids are playing outside more and will encounter some of these creatures that are also beginning to emerge.”

Quintanilla, formerly with the El Paso Zoo, feels strongly about providing this free education to the community’s parents and children about these ever present, but often misunderstood creatures. “It’s very important to make people aware about what’s out there and to dispel certain fears and myths about them,” says Quintanilla. “I find that many adults and kids don’t know which ones are dangerous or harmless, and more parents need to recognize the symptoms of a bite. If I can help educate them, then I’ve done a good job.”

Children also learned various lessons such as the life cycles of honey bees, harmful spiders to avoid such as the brown recluse and black widow, identifying the most venomous creatures by their size and the do’s and don’ts of what to do when encountering such creatures.

“There is a difference between fear and respect and he did a good job taking away the fear and explaining to the children how each creature is a valuable part of the eco system and to how to avoid harming and being harmed by them,” says Quintero.

To schedule a visit from Mr. Quintanilla, or to learn more about poison safety and emergencies, visit www.poisoncontrol.org.





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