Catch and Release
This week, we released wild children into the wild woods… the entire sixth grade of Clemson U’s Youth Learning Academy. They scampered to the crests of ridges and slid back to the bottom on their rear-ends, they followed creeks, they rolled logs to look for salamanders. We found a secluded pond and they waded into shin-deep muck to catch tadpoles and Eastern red-spotted newts with their bare hands. They learned about puddling butterflies and were properly grossed out to discover the source of a butterfly’s nutrition. They used proper words, like feces and regurgitation. They nibbled flowers. They watched frogs and salamanders have sex. They named a goose who swam by to visit and a frog they wanted to keep for a class pet. (But didn’t.) They bounced on a fallen tree like it was a trampoline. They were smart, and loud, and they giggled a lot. They learned how wonderful it is to live within easy reach of a temperate rainforest. Nobody got hurt. Overall, we’d call this a successful week.