Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Adventure camp begins!

Silver spotted skipper looking for nectar on a pink sock

The first week of adventure camp for this summer has already come and gone.  I had the usual batch of kids who know little to nothing about the outdoors.  They need to be reminded not to throw sticks and stones, not to shout constantly, not to toss the catch nets or twirl them around like batons.  Most have never seen a crayfish, though apparently they have eaten lobster, as that’s the first thing they mention when they see a crayfish.  They do like to watch the crayfish fight, though.

This past week, in addition to the usual stream denizens, we were visited by several flying insects.  A dragonfly of some species perched on someone’s head for a minute or so.  A silver-spotted skipper came to perch on someone else’s shoes and socks.  Later, I discovered this species likes blue and purple flowers, so I’m thinking it was attracted by those brightly-colored socks.

As always, the kids seem to have a good time, for which I am grateful, and they catch crayfish big and small.  This group preferred the tiniest crayfish, while most other groups argue over who’s caught the largest one.  We had a few sightings of salamanders, but none made it into my buckets.  Before the kids arrived, I fed the local minnows and small fish a few pieces of bread, but this batch of kids was way too impatient to have any luck netting the fish.

I can only hope that somewhere along the way, before too long, that these kids develop a much more nuanced relationship with their environment.  Right now, the best I can say is that at least they are enthusiastic once they get outside.


Scott said...

I hate to say it, but I don't hold out much hope that the kids will develop an environmental consciousness. I think that those of us who are environmentally literate just have it in our nature (so to speak) to be that way; it doesn't easily develop in kids who have so many other distractions and more immediately gratifying things to divert their attention.

The founder of my organization, a well-respected and extraordinarily talented nature photographer, has spent the last several years making trips to Iceland documenting the landscape there. He is going to have a 2-year photographic exhibition at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington opening on July 1, and he has assembled a 5-pound art book of his Iceland photographs to accompany the exhibit. Kali and I had dinner with him on Sunday evening, and he told us that he gave his 21-year-old grandson a copy of the book. He went on to say that his grandson flipped quickly through the images and said, "Nice," and then closed cover. The photographer was clearly hurt by that reaction, and he went on to lament the state of young people's attention.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: I'm worried, too, that kids will never learn enough about the outdoors to treat our earth appropriately or even learn to enjoy it themselves. I know I sure don't have any great ideas about how to engage them over the longer term.