Friday, July 2, 2010

One More Nut

The squirrel scampers across my deck snooping into every plant and empty clay pot. He pokes his head into the pots tossing out dirt probably burying one more nut. This little critter loves to try any way he can to get seeds out of the bird feeders. He flings himself off of the deck railing hoping to connect with the feeder. Last year he would actually climb the pole until the new squirrel guard prevented his success.

All last summer I fought this little devil chasing him off the deck and out of my yard. I lost. So this year I decided to use him as a lesson for my granddaughters. Now we not only watch the birds, we also watch the squirrel. The girls ask questions, and class begins. They know not to touch wild animals. Observing them in nature is much more rewarding than trying to possess them. Protecting them is protecting our environment as well as theirs.

Instead of movies we often watch nature programs on OPB (PBS) or on DVD. No matter what their age, they have been captivated by the animal world. Perhaps it's asking a lot, but we grandparents can do a great deal for our natural world by teaching the children, raising them up to know how to respect, observe and care for it.

I find that when my teaching the kids about plants, birds and animals, their friend join in asking their questions. We gather lichen, nut shells, fallen leaves and create a collage on a paper plate. Pieces of nature become greeting cards for family.

Handing over the camera to a child on a nature walk, opens new doors of observance. A twig becomes a letter of the alphabet. An old stump becomes a howling wolf. Pictures of birds, squirrels and nature become photos in albums and on cards or gifts. The eye is trained, the child is trained and nature lives as it should.
My father taught me that touching animals could be dangerous. They might be small animals, but they deserved respect. The human scent could cause a mother bird or animal to leave her nest and babies. Children learn about the Audubon Society and other agencies that protect as well as retrieve abandoned or injured animals.

Curiosity channeled is a wonderful thing. And, we get to do it! I challenge you to make a difference. I challenge you to make a future for your grandchildren, for our world.


  1. I just returned from a camping trip with five grandchildren. (There were five of us adults as well.) One of my grandchildren is crazy about every form of animal life. He caught minnows and tadpoles, chased lizards and frogs and gave names to the huge beetles who came to our lantern at night. It was so much fun to see nature through his eyes.

  2. Susan, you are a fantastic grandma. Isn't it fun to learn from the grandchildren and to see life from an all together different view? Lucky us!