The Cleopatra Project informs Charlottesville and beyond about the poisonous and venomous wildlife in Virginia

The UVA Student Health and Wellness Center is bringing art and science together through its new exhibit, The Cleopatra Project.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The UVA Student Health and Wellness Center is bringing art and science together through its new exhibit, The Cleopatra Project.

The exhibition is focused on providing information about the poisonous and venomous animals found in Virginia.

“We have seen many accidents in the world. people will come with serious problems because they got bitten by spiders,” said Alfred Goossens with the Cleopatra Project. “Education for the community is really important.”

32 animal species are presented in the exhibit, and experts across the Commonwealth came together to write and approve each creature’s description.

“We started originally in 2013 researching poisonous plants in Virginia, and when that was done and was published by UVA, I was asked to get Master Naturalist together to do the same for poisonous and venomous animals,” Goossens said. “I’ve worked together for about a dozen Master Naturalists from all over Virginia, not just from Charlottesville.”

They noticed that people were being harmed by the creatures they had least expected.

“They know about the big snakes and things like that, but not about the spiders and caterpillars. We even have a scorpion in Virginia,” Goossens said.

The information within the exhibit will be published in book form this December.

“The publication will be given out free of charge. For instance, all the school nurses in Virginia will get a copy so students can learn,” Goossens said.

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