|Snapping Turtle (Photo by A. Faricy)|
As I canoed along on my second to last of 14, three-hour canoe classes over the last three weeks, I examined the actions of the 6th graders. A couple was kneeling precociously in the bottoms of their canoes, hands outstretched, canoes tilted dangerously to one side, attempting to catch painted turtles. Others were cautiously peering into the murky bottom in search of the elusive snapping turtles that are frequently spotted. While still others, craned their necks skyward watching two of the seven local bald eagles swoop effortlessly in and out of the trees. I smiled as I heard one 6th grade girl say to another “We dibs that turtle!”.
|“Dibsed” Turtle (Photo by A. Faricy)|
The fact that kids were “dibsing” turtles was somewhat of an accomplishment for me. As we stood on the shore prior to our adventure, many of the kids squirmed nervously at the mention of catching turtles. Now they wanted them. Wanted them so bad they “dibsed” them. That is about as close as you can come to formal ownership when you are in 6th grade. Success.
|Nested Loon (Photo by A. Faricy)|
After catching a couple of turtles and handing them off to some of the kids who were not so lucky as to dibs a turtle, we made our way through a small tunnel and out on to the larger lake. I want to believe that the nesting loons were grateful I made the kids wait for me as I stood to watch near their nest, keeping excited kids from getting too close as they took pictures with their disposable cameras. When an eagle swooped low over the loons nest the kids got to see what a nervous, angry adult loon looks like. I was just grateful the loon seemed more nervous about the eagle than us.