Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team

Motif No. 1 Day Festival - Snakes and Vernal Pond Exhibit 5-20-2017


It was a cool and comfortable sunny day at Motif No. 1 Day Festival in Rockport. We featured our Snakes and Vernal Pond Exhibit to a whole bunch of interested and excited people. Our outdoor booth in the beautiful grassy center of town was a hit. We spent our time out in the crowd mingling, with the snakes slung around us, for people to see and hold. We brought some other fun vernal pond critters too including a snapper, stuffed Ottie the Otter (for some reason the crowd really adores him), a Gray tree frog, baby Spotted salamanders, and Spring peepers.  Our steadfast volunteers came through once again including Keith Bertone, Cora Hawks, Eric Hutchins, Julie McMahon, Jon and Diane Bevins, Wilhelmina Rolf Thaemert, Victoria Rolf, Colleen Anderson, and Rick. Once again we had an enjoyable day teaching our visitors about vernal pond wildlife and how to appreciate and hold our snakes.

Are you wondering what the heck Motif No.1 Day Festival is? Well, it celebrates the Arts in Rockport and the return of spring. All of it centers around the fishing shack (now artist’s studio) tourist attraction that started it all which is an old building on Rockport’s historic wharf. It was painted so often by artists at the turn of the last century that it was given the nickname Motif No.1 by Lester Hornby, a well know artist and instructor of the period. Film, poetry, dance, music, and art-making activities are all a part of the festival, as well as historical presentations and a 5k Road Race and Fun Run and our SNAKES, of course!

Photographs by Keith Bertone (noted below) and Victoria Rolf








It was sixty and sunny with a light breeze in the beautiful seaside village of Rockport. Hundreds of kids were hanging out with us -- well really they were hanging out with all the critters ...especially the snakes.


Photograph left and below by Keith Bertone






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       Photograph by Keith Bertone


Father and Daughter

The Dad hung around for hours watching his lovely daughter enjoy all the different snakes. Finally I asked him if he was ready to join in. He indulged in the joy of it all.









  Photograph by Keith Bertone




Photograph by Keith Bertone




Each person has a story... One very jolly dude at our exhibit was so afraid or our snakes but he was fascinated too -- but truly afraid. While talking he said he was just the biggest baby about snakes and he wouldn't dare to even touch one. We talked a little more and he introduced me to his fiancĂ© and said she was brave and he was a chicken. She proceeded to hold a snake. Then I encouraged him to touch the one I was holding. He asked if it would bite him. I laughed. He touched it. After about ten minutes he was holding one of our unfurry friends and he was just delighted with the snake and himself. It made the whole day worth being alive. 

School mates meet up at our exhibit!


These two handsome devils were 'regulars' for the festival and held every single snake!   




     Photograph by Keith Bertone


Prince Charming...


See the charismatic looking guy with Violet, the albino reticulated python, hanging around his neck absolutely charming these women wandering by our exhibit? I am talking about Keith Bertone, our Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team volunteer, who has been the go to guy for going above and beyond helping out the Pond Team this year. This guy knows a lot about snakes and goes out of his comfort zone to help educate our youth and community members about these super cool animals.


   Photograph by Keith Bertone
Spring peeper in aquarium... barely an inch!

  Photograph by Keith Bertone

The brothers with Ottie the stuffed Otter. They were just petting away like he was wagging his tail. I wonder what Ottie thought looking at them with all that crazy war paint. Luckily we've trained him not to bite children!

A favorite snake of this show was Evilyn the White-lipped python... due to the beautiful opalescent coloring when the sun shines on his body. It was fascinating and you can get a sense of it looking at his head in this photograph.

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