DERRY — He is "Dr. Splatt" to many who know him best.
Brewster Bartlett, the unique and endearing science teacher that shared information on animals, their habitat and the environment for 46 years has retired from the classroom at Pinkerton Academy.
Known for his long standing support of the world, its creatures and resources, Bartlett would wear his white lab coat and share his Roadkill Project with his students and those in classrooms around the nation.
For decades, Bartlett would uncover boxes of furs, bones, skulls and other collectables that aided in his teaching of all things science. And for a few final moments at Pinkerton last week, Bartlett climbed into the Academy's historic clock tower to take a view from the hill and look out over the massive campus that has grown so much since he first started teaching.
"This is a great way to close your chapter," Bartlett noted while staring off in various directions on a sunny morning from the tower last week. "This was one of my goals, to go up in the tower."
The breeze blew and the sun was shining as Bartlett shifted from side to side to see the landscape below from all points north.
"Look at the changes now," he said, noting his first classroom was in the bright white Alumni Building, one of only three Pinkerton buildings existing on the property back then.
It was Bartlett and his alter ego Dr. Splatt, though, forging a relationship that brought science into a most interesting light.
It began with a journey to study animals on the state’s roadways in the early 1990s when Bartlett got the idea to monitor dead animals as he traveled around the state. He thought it would make for an educational and interesting study in animals, their habitats, migration numbers and patterns — that lead to the Roadkill Project.
The Roadkill Project was very popular in the earliest days of computer connections and before massive Internet access, eventually joining students together via email to keep in touch and send various data on roadkill to an online bulletin board.
The numbers grew and soon included students from all over the nation were taking part in their own roadkill counts and studies.
The project truly took on a life of its own in 1997 when CNN came to interview Bartlett about his work. In the years since, Bartlett has received numerous awards his support of science.
Bartlett often showed off his collection stored neatly in a back room at Pinkerton and his alter ego Dr. Splatt would emerge for many presentations at the Academy, holding up his stash skulls, bones, pieces of skin or fur, as he explained the life of a particular animal and its habitat.
As he prepared for retirement, Bartlett said he had a lot of packing to do. That included his life-sized human skeleton, something his son, who also loves science, reminded him not to forget.
Bartlett's wife of 24 years Michele, also a science teacher, said the couple's Loudon home pays homage to the decades of her husband's work, his love of teaching and collecting unique and unusual items.
"He has a huge collection of skins, skulls and furs as well as rocks and minerals and antiques just to name a few," she said.
It's the "true environmentalist" in her husband that makes him find joy in constantly recreating things he finds into new things that can be used around the house.
"He is constantly repurposing items we don’t need or that he gets from the dump into new items for our gardens or for one of our many chicken or turkey pens," she said. "And I am so proud of all of his hard work, clubs, projects and numerous awards through the years."
Bartlett said Dr. Splatt would always remain a big part of his life.
"But I might try new things, have new adventures," he said. "I want to climb the mountains in New England, run a race in New England, do library talks, and I'll still do the roadkill presentations here. But I'll miss the kids, and the people."