The Wisdom of Youth

I can’t believe that I am typing this: “My name is Sunny and I handle reptiles and alligators during field trip sessions at a Wildlife Refuge.”  Yes, lured to this refuge by the promise of Monarch butterflies and flowering milkweed gardening, instead I now find myself sharing the thrill of petting reptiles with 4th graders on their school field trips.

As a bus monitor, Storm maintains order and shares the sighting of birds and the ever popular sun bathing alligators with kids from the safety of a school bus as they are chauffeured through the refuge.  Some days he teaches bird migration by playing a game where he stands among the energetic kids and lets them migrate from simulated Canada to Texas and back while he points out to them the obstacles (hunting, development) to successful snow geese migration.  He then suggests conservation methods to balance man’s needs with wildlife protection.  I know what you are thinking – “Stormy, a conservationist, really?”  We’re hoping we can count his work here as an environmental offset to trading in the gas sipping Prius for a thirsty Rubicon.  

As much as I love having a king snake coiling constrictively around my arm, my favorite part of this experience is the joy of discovery that I see in the kid’s eyes as the Master Naturalist teaches them how to recognize snakes or explains to them the many adaptations alligators use to survive.  Although I am not yet accustomed to the shrieks and giggles that fill the pavilion when I bring out the baby alligator (and that is just the sounds I make), I hope I never become immune to how wonderfully children see the world.

For example, while I was showing the snakes today, one young lady refused to even look at the snake. Her classmate on my left fixed her with a stern glare and said, “If you touch the snake now you will open the door to more adventure in your life, if you don’t you will regret it for the rest of your life.”  Amen and here’s to adventure and the wisdom of 4th graders!



About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

8 Replies to “The Wisdom of Youth”

  1. I love this post and the great pictures of you handling the creatures! We are never to old to learn something new!

    1. So true! It was fantastic to see you both this weekend. If you go back to Austin, you may want to hook up with Monte again as he took us on a fabulous tour of the city and oh my goodness the places we ate on Saturday were every bit as good as dinner Friday night. He knows the best places to chow down in Austin!

  2. Wow. You go girl! This is something those kids will remember for the rest of their lives. I remember all the field trips I got to go on in school. Next we’ll be reading about Sunny the lion tamer. (Wink)
    Have fun and take care.
    Doug and Tracie

    1. Hi Doug and Tracie – I am so glad to hear from you. I bet you have lots of great stories to tell now too. I sure hope we meet up again somewhere. Don’t know about the lions, I may have reached my wild animal limit 🙂 Hope the open road is treating you guys great too!

  3. So… they get you to come to the reserve by telling you about the butterflies. Then, once you are there, they have you handling snakes, alligators and undoubtedly, the scariest group of all, 4th graders! What’s next – fire fighter, combat reporter, Trump consultant?

    1. LOL – at this point, I am afraid to guess what is next. Though I can promise you we are hoping that the next most exciting thing that we do will somehow include the jeep, you and a dirt road near Moab!

  4. You know I am not nor have I ever been politically correct. YOUR BOTH NUTS. They would not be very happy with me there as I would be hitting the trail first thing in the morning (worried about running over gaiters at night) I cannot see myself dealing with those critters at all, I would be in cardiac arrest picking them up. You guys are great and willing to answer to the cause what ever it might be, making memories that you will NEVER forget and more power to you, just don’t get offended if we pass up on this stop with you. ;>)))))) Proud of you guys but I will now have nightmares about SNAKES wrapped around the arm. I could use a good stiff drink about now. GOD BLESS


    1. Hahaha! I understand if you would rather wait for our next gig at the Lighthouse. I honestly would not have expected things to work out this way. I am pretty sure that when I was in 4th grade I would have fainted if someone handed me a snake (in fact I think that actually happened). Hang in there with us and we will try to do some things that are more tame although you might want to close your eyes when we get to Moab 😉

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