School of Croc, once a 2-week pro­ject, rolls to its 50th show

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State - By De­wayne Bevil

When Ga­tor­land in­tro­duced its School of Croc pro­gram­ming, the idea was for it to last two weeks or so while the south Or­lando at­trac­tion was closed for the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

But now, the 50th episode of the livestream will be pro­duced and pre­sented on Face­book Live at 10 a.m. on Wed­nes­day. Along the way, view­ers have seen all man­ner of rep­tiles — in­clud­ing the park’s rare pale white leucis­tic al­li­ga­tors, croc­o­diles and snakes — plus birds great and small, goats and mem­bers of the big-cat fam­ily. As­sorted Ga­tor­land em­ploy­ees, on hand for the care and feed­ing of its an­i­mals, have ap­peared on cam­era, most notably Sa­van­nah Boan.

Boan, a long­time Or­lando ra­dio per­son­al­ity, has worked at Ga­tor­land for al­most four years. For the School of Croc shows she talks the on­line au­di­ence through facts about the spot­lighted an­i­mals, wades in with the gators and once had plans to just move into the at­trac­tion for a while. (There’s also an af­ter­noon vlog on YouTube that’s a lit­tle more rau­cous than the morn­ing show.)

Boan chat­ted this week about the 50 days of School of Croc.

way they don’t bleed out.

Birds have never been my fa­vorite an­i­mal in the world, but I have learned a lot about birds through this. So every time we do a bird episode usu­ally go­ing into it I’m like — uggggh — no­body cares about birds. They only care about al­li­ga­tors or croc­o­diles. It kind of fell all to­gether be­cause with the al­li­ga­tor holes some of the birds we have here at Ga­tor­land wouldn’t be able to thrive, like the wad­ing birds and things like that. It all worked out, big cir­cle, and I’ve learned a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for birds. keep the an­i­mals ex­cited and keep them busy. … Al­li­ga­tors don’t do much any­way, but our al­li­ga­tors do a lot of stuff, you know, they do a lot of things. So we just have been try­ing to keep them men­tally stim­u­lated, and we’ve done a lot of crazy things through this whole School of Croc.

I spent the night here a cou­ple of times. It was when I thought we were all go­ing to be locked down and I wasn’t go­ing to be able to come in. So I was go­ing stay here un­til we found out the good word from the gov­er­nor. If we did get locked down, I wanted to be here, so, you know, that I could make sure that ev­ery­thing was taken care of. … But it would have been fun if I got to be­cause I like do­ing stuff like that.

I mean, ev­ery­body al­ways wants us to swim with the al­li­ga­tors or ev­ery­body al­ways wants us to, you know, kind of take a bite and let peo­ple know what it feels like. But we’re re­ally not go­ing to do any­thing like that. It’s a very kid-friendly, ed­u­ca­tional sort of pro­gram that we’re try­ing to put out there. Short-term goal was to get us through this time; long-term goal is to get an al­li­ga­tor and crocodile-based tele­vi­sion show for kids from Ga­tor­land. That’s my per­sonal goal in all of this. … I didn’t know how the show was go­ing to work un­til we were thrust into a sit­u­a­tion where we just had to do the show. So now we have lots of great ideas for how we’re go­ing to do a real TV show too.

I promised that we would do this un­til we opened back up. But that prom­ise was based on my knowl­edge at the time, which was go­ing to be, like, a cou­ple of weeks. And it has been great. We’ve met so many new peo­ple from all around the world that are com­ing here. So many great kids, and we can’t wait to open it up so they can all come here. But we will be do­ing a School of Croc prob­a­bly weekly that will up­load on Satur­day morn­ings, like a Satur­day morn­ing kids show. School of Croc never stops now. Once it started, it never stops.

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