This past Saturday, we celebrated Spike’s 14th birthday party. (He’s our giant, African Spurred Tortoise, in case you didn’t know.) The morning temperatures started in the 40s, and rose only slightly, which means we thin-blooded Valley folks were FREEZING!!
As I led a couple dozen Girl Scouts down the Hackberry Trail, we were stopped in our tracks, repeatedly, by downed butterflies; they, too, were freezing. Fortunately, the girls were careful not to step on these sleeping beauties, so I showed them how best to handle and relocate them to some place safe and warm.
Throughout this chilly morning, we talked about weather and seasons, and all the needs we humans have to survive the world in which we live. As always, I was awed by their energy and curiosity.
Lessons & Reflections from the National Butterfly Center
Day after day, we lead people outside who have very little exposure to it; children and adults who don’t know what to do in the wild, or on a walk. We have a very short list of tips for them we consider basic skills for the field, and the more I repeat them to others the more practical applications I find for them in “real life” situations.
1) Be quiet and listen. Oh, boy. This is a big one. I am sure you have a million examples of ways in which this one has saved your a** or where failing to do so has left you in a pickle. I’ve missed the ringing of the dinner bell. I’ve heard (and therefore seen) an Indigo “rattle” his tail. I’ve recklessly drowned out the telltale words of a liar and reveled in the joyful song of the Long-billed Thrasher. It’s hard to go wrong by keeping your mouth shut and your ears open.