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Today is July 6, 2022

Outdoors

Rescuing the children

By Tony Kinton

Rescuing the children

The young, when introduced to the world of nature, are usually enamored of its intricacies.

I beg patience before you leap to a conclusion regarding that title above. It does not pertain to the various rescues which are executed with some regularity, extracting a child from a dangerous situation in whatever form that situation occurs. These rescues are essential. The rescue to which I refer is perhaps not immediately threatening, but serious just the same.

Repeating the statement that a significant portion of today’s children are captured by electronic devices and have too few encounters with the natural world is neither headline news nor deep philosophy. Still, it is truth. And truth remains true even if it is not believed. Consequently, the children need an occasional rescue. 

Rescue one. Become the guide, the teacher. But before and as you do, be aware of danger. You do not have to wander into jungle depths to encounter danger; it lurks in the backyard. Yet, it does not preclude a careful and observant journey to outside venues.

Common attackers are chiggers and ticks. Stinging entities such as wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets abound as well. Check the youngster — and yourself — regularly for the former two; avoid the latter three if possible. Don’t forget to give snakes a wide berth. 

And where do you begin as tutor? Know your stuff is the first thing. And if you don’t know your stuff, learn. There is a plethora of information available from the local library or on that miserable little chirping and dinging device from which you are trying to rescue the child. That device is likely in your pocket. 

Let the trail begin at an oak tree. In the yard is okay; along a woods trail is better. Branches of the oak should host baby acorns. Point out to your young companion, who by now is likely experiencing both withdrawal from the screens left inside and the euphoria of fresh air and bird call, that acorns are not simply a nuisance to be swept from the driveway. Acorns are an essential part of life. They make new trees, but they also provide a prodigious supply of fat for autumn whitetails that will soon enter that difficult period of late winter.

Acorns attract squirrels that not only consume them on the spot, but also bury them in good supply for later use. Squirrels need acorns. Turkeys peck away at fallen acorns as well. A treasure, these nuts from the oaks. 

Explain such things to your pupil and field questions. There will be some. And note that wise and considerate use of wild things is rarely a threat. Abuse, however, is a path to destruction.

 

 

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit www.tonykinton.com  for more information.

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