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Wild West Hempstead Chamber Meeting [Photos]

Chamber of Commerce brings meeting to Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Tanglewood Preserve.

The West Hempstead Chamber of Commerce's June meeting was a wild one.

This time, the local merchants group gathered at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at the Tanglewood Preserve in Lakeview to conduct its business.

In between discussing issues pertinent to the local economy, the community and its members, the group had a chance to meet the various animals that call Tanglewood their home.

Dr. Ray Ann Havasy, director of the not-for-profit CSTL, gave them a tour, where they had close encounters with exotic birds, flying squirrels, alligators, frogs, lizards, goats, ducks, turtles and snakes, including a boa constrictor, among other wild creatures. (Click through the gallery above to see photos of the animals.)

She explained to them that Tanglewood is home to the only nature-based nursery school on Long Island (Nature's Kids) and touted that the facility runs on solar energy. Havasy, who served as one of Steven Spielberg's dinosaur consultants when the director was making Jurassic Park, also educated them about the various programs that CSTL hosts throughout the year including summer camps, field trips, kids parties, workshops and even corporate events. (You can learn more at CSTL.org.) She then revealed that she is working on opening up a Long Island Natural History Museum and is scouting potential locations in West Hempstead.

After the tour was complete, the members enjoyed a delicious meal provided by Sam's Caribbean Marketplace, which recently relocated to West Hempstead, and proceeded with their business meeting. The topics discussed included replacing the signs along Hempstead Avenue, displaying the Ram statues created by high school art students at local businesses, and updating the Chamber's Web site.

The Chamber also announced that it recently honored one West Hempstead High School student, Joseph DiMarco, with its first award. DiMarco, an aspiring engineer, hopes to one day start his own consulting firm.

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