Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Natural World

This morning I went with Claire's 4th grade class on a field trip to the Tannersville Cranberry Bog. This bog is the oldest habitat like it in the world and it's right here in our own backyard!

With Darryl, as our guide, we hiked into the forest which edges the bog. Darryl turned a log over and showed us two wood salamanders. Did you know that wood salamanders are lungless? They breathe through their skin.

We walked into the bog along a wooden boardwalk, past Larch trees and Pitcher plants. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, like Venus Flytraps, but Darryl said we could stick our finger inside. I stuck my finger in and felt the cool water resting there.

Every now and then Darryl would pause and say something like, "Did you hear that common yellow throat?"

I learned things on our hike through the bog that I'll never forget, like slipping my finger inside a Pitcher plant. I vote for getting teachers and kids out of the classroom and into the natural world way more often. There's a whole world, beyond text books, at the touch of our fingertips, right in our own backyards.

Each of us must realize that he or she is part of a complex living system that would continue to function quite beautifully without us and that our challenge is therefore to work for a sustainable earth society that mimics the natural system all around us.

- Dr. William A. Niering (conservationist/educator/bog lover)

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