Category Archives: Ohio Wesleyan University

Youthful Caretakers of the Wild

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My two youngest granddaughters, Marley and Makyah, came to spend

the night and they wore me out!! There are lots of great things to do

in my apartment and surrounding location.

We played at St. Mary’s Catholic school playground for awhile but

decided the deep blue color of the equipment and dark mulch made it

“too hot.” Then, we went over to check out the creek and had fun on

two of the three bridges that cross over to Ohio Wesleyan Univesity.

We ran along the edge, looking for the ducks, finally finding one solitary

duck. The four year old exclaimed,

“She’s lonely, Nana!”

This made my littlest one, say, “Alone. Why?”

This made me wonder, too. It also makes me realize how young

children are to develop empathetic thoughts and feelings. I was in

awe of this reminder. I think one of the many awesome things about

having grandchildren is just that: learning the capabilities of humane

thoughts at such an early age (or stage) in life.

That, and all the reminders of our youth and our ability to have deep

feelings. I remember cringing when the neighbor boy pulled the wings

off butterflies he caught in a butterfly net. Although it was a hobby, my

brother sometimes was pinning butterflies to his collection boards. I

thought they were beautiful and yet, wondered if they “felt” the pin

pricking them and holding them. Sometime, along the way, I did hear

of some collectors using some form of “ether” substitute that would

anaesthetize the creatures

We all have an affinity for weaker creatures in one way or another. It

may be watching the news and hearing of someone who is not good

at taking care of their animals, hoarding them or not feeding them or

giving water on a hot day.

One day, looking at the ground while he walked home from school and

spying a duckling stuck along the tracks, my son gently eased the

webbed foot out of the black tar it was stuck in.

Unfortunately, when asking someone who worked with wildlife, they

suggested washing the tar off the duck’s feet and replacing it in the

same area. Sure enough, when we walked back to the vicinity of the

location, there was mother duck wildly, loudly quacking to “call her

baby back.” My son remembers that lesson and has always being a

gentle soul

Recently, my son retold his own children that story. When they wanted

to save a chipmunk that one of their dogs had caught. Having to capture

it, letting it go on the other side of their privacy fence, only to hope it

would stay there!

There are many examples you may think of: the windblown nest falling

out of a tree, those precious eggs still intact. What to do? The rabbit who

has misplaced or possibly been killed, when you find the baby bunnies.

Is it okay to try to feed baby animals? The Delaware Humane Society

and when we were young, the Bay Village Nature Center, each advised,

gently, “No,

leave the wild animals alone. Hope it will survive and possibly get

reconnected with a family member.”

Once we got finished sharing our whole wheat bread with the lone

duck, we went onto the grounds and found pinecones. Why is it that

when little ones use such a tender voice, we get all soft inside? Also,

do they do this ‘on purpose’ knowing we react this way?

“Aww, Nana, there is a baby pinecone!”

Do you think it is because we give them such beatific smiles and

loving looks while they do this? Are we making sure to reward these

gentle observations?

I am hoping these are intrinsic values they have instinctively to feel

and care. They may hold creatures dear to their little hearts, without

any extrinsic reinforcement.

While throwing the pine cones into the water, I mentioned it was such

a shame that the walls along the creek. They need to be reinforced by

replacing the stones and placing them more firmly into the walls. There

are a few areas that have big piles of dirt toppling into the once clear

stream This seems to have reduced the wildlife that used to live here.

I dislike seeing so much mud there, as I pointed to an area. The girls’

eyes followed my finger.

When a professor or someone affiliated with OWU, stopped to admire

my precious little towheads, I said, “Thank you and they are just two of

my six grandkids that I enjoy bringing here. Did you notice this wall is

caving in here and down the creek, toot? My oldest grandson, when he

was their age, liked to feed a big flock of ducks, find turtles, spy frogs

and also, toads.

We pulled over rocks and found earthworms, saw crawdads and

would see schools of a variety of fish here.There are less signs of wildlife

here now.”

The gentleman, took a moment to pause and ponder this thought. He

did a fine job of looking quite “professorial” in this moment. He replied,

“Who do you suppose is responsible, the city or the university?”

“Your guess is as good as mine! If you ever run into someone who knows

and cares, will you pass the word on for me?”

He smiled and patted Makyah, the littlest one’s head, intoning in such a

wise way,

“We need to be careful of all our resources for the sake of the future

of these and others’ sake.”

I added, “If it were up to children, they would be wonderful caretakers

of the world. They love every little detail and appreciate the simplest

things.”

Marley, having one year of preschool under her belt, looked up at me

and said, “Nana, we loved the bumblebee on the black eyed susan

flower, too.” (I had sung the silly song, when we observed this, “Bringing

Home a Baby Bumblebee.”)

A short, but meaningful, look passed across from me to the man who

had stopped. He was just crossing the bridge from the parking lot by my

apartment building to the great university that, I believe, he taught at.

If only the children could “run the world.”

There is a Michael Jackson song, “Nature Song” which has a keeing sound

to his voice, while emphasizing how we need to take care of the Earth. It

has a lovely video on Youtube. There are many more songs out there with

those similar thoughts!

 

Of course, several Band Aid and Farm Aid famous participants, along with a

diverse international population who continue to  support environmental,

hungry people, as well as wildlife. All with the specific intent of making this

world a better place,

All starting with the children and ending with them, too.