Reading the weeds

September 14, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

As part of my ongoing mission to ensure that the unnerving title of Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods, doesn't come true on my watch, I spent the day taking the sixth graders from Wheeler Middle School on field walks that supported their studies of amphibians and invasive species. I've been doing this at the behest of biology teacher Kristi Williams, and the endeavor is always a high point of every month. This kick-off trek, however, almost ended badly, because the area we were walking in the afternoon had been, that morning, an overgrown field rich with the interplay of invasive and native plants. A mower had reduced the Goldenrods and Mugworts, to say nothing of my lesson plan, to compost, but there were other possibilities available as we fanned out and eyed the fresh leaf litter for signs of disturbed life. The little Garter Snake, no doubt a member of the Class of 2017, was not happy to have its hiding place uncovered, but the young reptile, after hissing its annoyance at a cadre of admirers, calmed down, then raced to safety elsewhere.


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