The Great American Teach In

This year (2023) Deb Quimby coordinated the Great American Teach In

What is The Great American Teach In or GATI as it’s commonly known?

We don’t know exactly when The Great American Teach In began, but we’ve been participating since the 1990’s. Prior to this rebranding to GATI, it would have been Career Day, or bring a parent to school for Show and Tell. It’s come to be a day in November each year when schools would contact Big Cat Rescue to come present about what it’s like to work around wildcats. Every year, more and more schools would contact us, but with a huge volunteer force of 80-110 people, we could accommodate a lot of schools and colleges. In the years since COVID, that’s meant a dwindling supply of volunteers and thus fewer students could benefit. Undeterred, Deb took the reigns and rallied the troops, providing them with updated presentation materials.

This year (2023) we spoke to almost 1400 students grades Pre-K through 8th grade over 2 days in 5 schools in and around the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater areas, both in person and virtually.

Here is what some of our Volunteer Presenters had to say about their experience:

“I had about 120 kids across two sessions and they were so interactive. I spent a major portion of the time answering questions.”

“The kids were so appreciative, I had one little boy give me a big hug afterwards and it was such a long hug the instructor had to come get him to go back to class. I had one girl that was so impressive and knew so many of the facts on her own and was so into the presentation.”

 “The school I saw on Wednesday basically kept me busy all day.  I saw everyone.  They combined groups.  There were at least 800 students, including the special education students and the 3 year olds.  They had set me up in a classroom on the second floor and the kids came to me.  The time slots were only 1/2 hour long.  There was a lot of interest and limited time for questions.”

“On Thursday I saw about 300 students.  The children were very sweet and in this school I even received thank you notes signed by two classes.  One of the first graders drew my picture, complete with details on my BCR Advocat shirt and hat and included a very small tiger following me around.”

 “I really enjoyed  both schools, their enthusiasm and wonderful discipline.  The students in both schools were very well behaved.  They know how to listen.I absolutely love GATI.  “

“I love speaking to the students each year. They seem to really enjoy learning about our cats and saving them in the wild. Reaching them early in life and teaching them about saving the cats and saving our planet is one of the greatest things we can give them.”

Here is what some of our schools had to say about 2023 GATI:

“The instructors were so grateful and personnel at the school were great. It was a huge success.”

“Thank you so much for taking your time and sharing your knowledge with our students. It is one of our favorite days of the year and they will talk about this for a long time. The handouts and take home paper was so helpful in us being able to continue the conversation with them after the GATI was over.”

“Thank you so much for your time today. The students really enjoyed hearing about your cats and your passion really showed through in your presentation. We would love to have you back again next year.”

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