Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 23!
In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Josh Cox!
Josh Cox founded Reptile Encounters in 2007, following a lifelong interest in Australian wildlife. With two parents with teaching backgrounds the idea was born to take animals into classrooms and educate students about nature.
Josh is the soon to be author of “Better Humans Empower your students to save the planet”, he has a degree in Medical Science from LaTrobe University and worked in the pharmaceutical industry prior to starting Reptile Encounters.
[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Josh Cox
[02:44] Josh talks about his background, his relationship to Education and his pet Parrot
[05:47] How does one buy a reptile?
[07:34] What came first for Josh? Love for education or love for animals?
[08:15] Josh describes his Educational Show, Reptile Encounters
[09:30] Size of the animals in Reptile Encounters
[10:28] Age of the audience of Josh's show
[11:06] How did Josh develop his curriculum without formal teacher training?
[11:49] Is there need for training certification in Victoria? How to acquire a demonstration license that allows to take animals into schools
[12:53] How Josh finds people for his staff
[13:36] The emotional transformation of a child when encountering a wild animal for the first time
[15:36] An example story from a birthday party
[16:10] The hardest thing when doing a show working with animals and children
[17:34] Structure of a Reptile Encounters show
[19:07] How does Josh know when the goals of each class have been reached?
[20:18] Has Josh found children that are not interested in pythons?
[21:06] How much does the show cost?
[21:35] Why is it important for kids to be exposed to reptiles and other native animals? The importance of getting in touch with Nature
[26:50] If Josh was the Minister of Education what would he change?
[27:49] Current state of the Australian curriculum regarding nature subjects: The example of ResourceSmart Schools
[28:40] As a principal or teacher, how to go about introducing more nature in the curriculum?
[29:29] What type of animal Josh recommends for teachers as a classroom pet
[32:06] Breeding Programs
[32:36] Josh talks about the book he is writing, "Better Humans"
[34:46] The connection between disrespecting animals and nature and disrespecting material possessions and even humans
[36:51] Are rural kids more or less empathetic to the animals?
[37:44] Reconnecting our children with nature makes them better humans
[38:40] Josh's main mission, teaching behaviour alongside biology
[40:13] Learning how to teach when you're not a classically trained educator and who has influenced Josh on shaping the way he teaches
[42:02] Are new educators ready to teach important topics such as sustainability and preservation of natural resources and what can they do to prepare themselves?
[43:49] Advice, tips and tricks for educators that put on shows or educational seminars for kids
[45:15] Josh's role models: David Attenborough and Steve Irwin
[46:27] What Josh knows after 10 years that he wished he knew when he was starting out
[47:17] Josh's relationship to programming languages and a funny robot story
[48:32] Parting thoughts, dos and don'ts: Reptile Encounters Website