I was so excited when I got approved for a PetCo "Pets in the Classroom" grant. I waited impatiently for my packet to arrive, even knowing that it would mean a 3 hour round trip drive to the nearest PetCo to fulfill it. I have had hermit crabs in my classroom before, but after doing more research on them I realized that the habitat I had wasn't ideal. So I asked for a heater to keep the temperature nice and balmy, along with a humidity gauge to ensure that they were getting enough moisture, some salt, additional shells etc. I mentioned in my application that I already had a 20 gallon tank set up, I just needed the peripherals to help get it set up appropriately, plus some nice little crabby guys too.
Well, low and behold my package arrived! I'll share my thought process as I went through the package:
"Huh, what are all these magazine thingys? Oh, 30 copies of 3 issues of "Classpet Press" - basically one large fold out page with a few facts about some typical small pets, a word search and a word scramble. Kind of like a typical kid's menu at a restaurant, but more colorful. Oh, and instead of meal prices on the back there are coupons for various pet products.
Hmm, kind of useless, but that's ok, I can set them at our Science center or send them home. It'll provide a few moments of entertainment for my kiddos. Anyways, that's not the whole packet....right? Aha! Here's the coupon sheet for my wonderful items! Wait...this can't be right...Can it? One free "Super Pet Little Crab Shack".
They sent me a coupon for a free plastic carrier? But...everything I've researched INCLUDING Petco's own Hermit Crab Care Sheet states that a 10 gallon tank is the MINIMUM size recommended. And umm, I'm not an electrician, but I'm pretty sure a heater and a plastic cage are a bad idea...the smell of melting plastic is probably not conducive to creating a learning environment. Not to mention, it's awfully hard to maintain temperature and HUMIDITY in a cage with so much airflow. I did tell them that I already had a 20 gallon tank right? Oh, that's right, I did...I guess they didn't actually READ the application.
Alright, well, not what I was hoping for, let's read the rest of the page. Heh. Here's another coupon for 50% off ONE hermit crab. Hmm, where's that Hermit Crab Care Sheet again? Oh, here it is..let's read that part again...
Well, after hours of researching and writing the application, the only thing I got out of this that is actually useful is 50% off ONE of the at least THREE hermit crabs I'll need to purchase.
Wow...not so fabulous of a grant program. I guess I was expecting something that actually went along with my APPLICATION in which I had to describe the supplies I was asking for. Well, that was a bust. Do I make the 3 hour round trip to use the one coupon or just suck it up and go buy some hermit crabs at my local pet store. Does PetCo realize that the grant program is so broken? I might write a letter to let them know, but will it get read or will they just send me another coupon for a useless item?"
Alright..end rant. I was just really looking forward to my kiddos' faces when I introduced these hermit crabs and we got to learn all about humidity and temperature in such a real-world application. Have YOU tried a Pets in the Classroom Grant yet? What was your experience?