By Sammy Davis
Your young student has had a stressful week of school. Being stuck at home for the first night of Spring Break hasn’t gone too well either. But with an early wake comes the muted sounds of birds through the 2nd story window―when their songs suddenly turn to alarm, your young student directs her sole focus to the backyard action. A grounded bird flutters to the top of the hedge while the loud wren and others disturb the peace. A simple prediction is made that a predator must be nearby. Sure enough, the neighbor’s pesky cat pops out from under the hedge!
Inspired by her curiosity, the young naturalist heads outdoors to her favorite patch of woods before you are even up. On the way there, your child snacks on a crispy, hint-of-spice daylily bud, and of course, some sweet wild strawberries. Now your young student naturally settles into her “sit spot”, where she has learned to open her senses, and bring awareness to the subtle distinctions and changes of her “natural home” ... weather patterns, a larder of plants, game trails, and of course, fresh scat!
“Looks like coyote!” Your scout is on hand and knees pondering and admiring the signs left by this wonderful wild urban creature.
On the walk back, the pesky cat comes to mind. “Was the cat now in danger? More so than the songbirds?” Your young student plans to satisfy her worry by giving warning to the cat’s owner, and by becoming a self-elected vigilante of the neighborhood.
Low and behold, you see a whole new person at the breakfast table. You and your family now can’t wait to be immersed in nature for the whole week. Just look what one hour did!
Edited: Timothy Welch
Young, Jon, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown. Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature. Shelton, WA: OWLLink Media, 2010. Print.
Young, Jon, and Dan Gardoqui. Introduction. What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. XV-XVI. Print.