Sharing a love for nature is second nature for me. I love to see the light bulb go off when young people observe something new and alive jogging their world. We are privileged to have several International college students nearby doing an internship in Agronomy. Befriending these great kids means sharing my love for nature, and birds in particular. A few of them have returned to their countries with a new interest in learning about and preserving the habitat for birds in their own countries. This has become an extremely rewarding part of my life, and theirs too, I believe.
While visiting Wildwood Park in Harrisburg a few days ago, which is like an oasis in the middle of a busy city, we saw a bus load of inner-city high school kids wearing the same green T-shirts standing around beside their bus. Right beside them six feet off the sidewalk stood a very striking Great Blue Heron, posed for striking at the first fish that moved. The heron stood so still that it seemed statuesque, like some of the other art scattered throughout the park.
The students were oblivious to anything around them except each other. I nodded to a young man and asked him if he had noticed the heron. He seemed shocked, and immediately called a few friends over to see it. Then the questions began, including, “Does it breathe? I mean, does it breathe under water? Can it fly?” Then they realized that maybe it isn’t cool to be interested in such things, and they shut down. I pulled out my bird app, iBird Pro, and pulled up the Great Blue Heron to show them. Technology talks! Again, there was a flash of interest, and they observed the bird for a few minutes and my husband and I walked on, knowing that we had made a difference and helped turn on the light bulb for a few young people, by sharing our love for nature. Hopefully they will open their eyes to find other living things to discover.