Aren’t you cute!

I’m not even sure where to begin. I am so stuck… how do I begin to talk about individuals overstepping their boundaries when exploring nature?  How do we – the collective we of non-formal and environmental and conservation educators – educate both the adults of today AND their children about NOT putting baby bison in their car because it was presumed abandoned…

Have “we” failed somehow when setting up the learning and exploring to prompt questions from our students… ‘Why isn’t the baby bison right with the momma?’

Have “we” failed to instill a sense of curiosity mixed with respect for all living creatures?

How do “we” help people think through what they are seeing in nature and learn to ask questions and seek guidance before the white-tailed fawn that is sleeping in the tall grass is “rescued?” Wild animals and humans do not raise their offspring in the same way. While people have baby monitors and cameras to help them be with their infants, even if from the next room, wildlife have a different approach.

A just-born fawn in Marion County, IA.
A just-born fawn in Marion County, IA.

Turtles lay their eggs in sand or soft soil and leave. The turtle eggs hatch and the young are on their own from the start. Cottontail rabbits leave the young in a nest and visit twice a day to feed. Young white-tailed deer instinctively know to curl up and nap in tall grasses, under a shrub, hidden. The mother will check in to nurse and maybe move the youngster, but can be gone 8-12 hours at a time. Young deer are camouflaged with spots and have no scent to help them hide from predators. Fawns cannot run or escape predators if they are with their mother. If you walk in a park in late May through early June in Iowa, you may see a young white-tail fawn like this one. Please do not assume the fawn has been abandoned. Chances are the mother is nearby eating or napping herself.

The intent of KinderNature is to help you, families, and professionals to feel comfortable taking children outside… to help them learn about nature, explore, play, to just be outside, but also to model and teach respect for nature – all living creatures. We adults usually learn right alongside the children in our care.

Musings from Murgatroyd by Linette Bernard
Murgatroyd is a family surname from England and has absolutely nothing to do with early childhood. The saying ‘heavens to Murgatroyd’ was one I remember my father saying, as well as ‘musings from Murgatroyd’ often were at the top of handwritten letters to me during and after college. From time to time more musings just may bubble to the surface to be shared.