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Gavin Thoen studied the gargoyle gecko. It's one of the "critters" that are pets and teaching tools owned by first grade teacher Dawn Slinger. She has had pets in her classroom for more than 20 years. Only, the ones she has now are fur-free.

Crazy critters teach valuable lessons at FES


There are kids in Dawn Slinger's first grade class who may arguably be braver than their parents at times. Particularly, when it comes to handling snakes.

Because honestly, the kids in Slinger's class are around snakes - and toads, geckos, tortoises and other "critters," as she calls them - all day when they are at Farmington Elementary School. And on days when the critters come out, the kids are learning to handle them. Even the snakes.

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Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard started covering the Farmington community in June, 1994. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the Farmington American Legion Auxiliary Unit 189, and acts as the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
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