By Abbie Blank-Libra, naturalist intern
I wish I could remember every hilarious comment that slips out of a child’s mouth…
Actually, the comments don’t slip out – they are quite deliberate. The 5-7 year old age group, Young Naturalists, is my favorite. Their minds have not yet formed a filter, so whether or not you ask for it, you’re going to get the truth. Or at least what they believe is the truth.
“How old do you think I am?” I asked some young hunters, as we headed to the archery range.
The answers came quickly. “12! 72! 35! 16! 19! 24! 43!” My response?
“Do I look as old as your mom…or your grandma?” I shouldn’t have asked.
To my relief the majority of the kids replied with a quick “No!” but a number of them shouted back, “Yeah, I think so! Are you a mom?!”… Conversations like this one are fairly common.
And I’m 21.
When kids make the rules:
o “Don’t do what you don’t say.” (That was my favorite. Any guesses on what it means?)
o “Don’t poop in your pants.” (Yes, please don’t do that.)
Eating smacos is always a messy task, but during one class I was extremely impressed to see a little girl stand up with chocolate smeared down the entire length of her leg.
We always introduce ourselves and the volunteers at the beginning of a class. Once as I was doing so, one boy— about 4 years old— cut in and said, “Nice to meet you, Abbie! My name is Parker!”
Before I could finish my reply, “Well, it’s nice to meet…” he jumped in again.
“…And this is Ava, and this is Gabe, and that is….etc, etc.”
Needless to say, introductions went a little longer that day.
In my Endangered Species class, we discussed how deforestation can be a cause for endangering certain species. That bit of info garnished the following response from one boy:
“Well, I was going to be a construction worker when I got older, but I don’t want to cut down trees anymore. So… I guess I’ll just become a professional bug hunter.” Sounds good to me, kid.
A young girl shared quite the story when I asked if anyone had seen a Bald Eagle before: “I HAVE,” shouted a young girl from the corner of the room. “Was it sitting in the top of the tree?” I asked her.
“No! I was playing softball and the eagle came flying down onto the field and stole the softball! THEN it dropped it on some girls head!”
Throughout the summer we have heard some pretty entertaining stories — real or maybe not so real. From frogs jumping over houses to catching thousands of fish in one day, reeling in a fish over ten feet long to eagles catching softballs, the stories never get old. True or not, we get enjoyment enough in watching the kids’ eyes light up as they tell their tales.