One Child


On June 21, many of my colleagues and I had the privilege of presenting programs at the Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo at Coney Island. This is a fun-filled day for the children and adults who attend, with much to see and do. I presented a program on “Wildlife Signs” and had many props out on my table: everything from bird’s nests to fake animal scat. The vast majority of those who stopped at my station were so excited that they began picking things up and asking excitedly over one another: “What’s this, what’s that?”

Then there was this one child.

While all his friends were touching and moving things about, he calmly listened as I explained the significance of each item. About halfway through my talk, his friends lost interest and ran over to the playground behind me. But not this one child; this one stayed at my table and continued to ask inquisitive questions and took his time working through my “Scat Matching” game. In a setting such as this, with so much happening at once, it can be hard to tell if you really made a connection with those you have met. On this day, I could see the result standing right in front of me: this one child.

Heather Ficke, Naturalist, Miami Whitewater Forest