Shawnee News-Star Weekender June 22 2019 Becky Emerson Carlberg Nata's mother did much good in the world. After she got her wings, the great hunter caught so many mosquitoes that some called her mosquito hawk. When Nata hatched from a miniscule egg, the little nymph had no wings. As she grew, she changed her bathing […]

Flooded Wister Lake spillway road

Shawnee News-Star Weekender June 22 2019

Becky Emerson Carlberg

Nata's mother did much good in the world. After she got her wings, the great huntercaught so many mosquitoes that some called her mosquito hawk. When Nata hatched from a miniscule egg, thelittle nymph had no wings. As she grew,she changed her bathing suits often in the water, each one larger thanbefore. Nata wore a mask with a trap shecould rapidly open and close. Her tworound eyes stuck out like those of a frog.Her long tail was a breathing tube.It was almost as if she had a mouth at each end, one used to eat and onefor breathing.

Nata was a hunter in the water where she lived or along thewater's edge. One day she walked out ofthe water and climbed the stem of a plant.Days later, all that was left was an empty bathing suit. Nata the Nymph was no more. Her water-clothes, attached to the stem,looked as if they were waiting for her to return and slip back inside. Flying along the creek was a beautifulcreature with four strong wings and eyes like jewels. Nata was now a dragonfly!

This is an excerpt from 'Hexapod Stories: Little Gateways toScience' by Edith Marion Patch (1920).Edith was a protg of Anna Botsford Comstock. Both women were Americanentomologists and writers interested in nature education and conservation. Annawas a strong advocate for nature study in the classroom. Her 'Handbook of Nature Study' (1911) wasused in elementary school classrooms for decades. Years went by before Annabecame Professor of Nature Study at Cornell University due to the fact she wasfemale.


Edith became friends with Anna during her own PhD studies atCornell. Edith directed her talents towriting books and magazine articles on natural history for young children. She wanted to educate young minds aboutnature. Her 'Science Readers' covered scientific topics for children to eighthgrade.

What happened? Herewe are, nearly 100 years later, and do our kids know anything aboutnature? They gasp in horror at spiders,bees, deer or birds and scowl at plants and trees. Nature seems to have no place in their lives.Teachers and parents, what have youdone?

All is not lost. Haveyou heard of the Children & Nature Network?It's been around since 2006. Theseeducators and leaders feel childhood has been kidnapped and moved indoors. Kidsare detached from the natural world.This has profound implications from children's health to the future ofthe planet, but C&NN continually works on policy changes and innovativesolutions.

Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). Have you heard of it? Your offspring haveshifted their interests from outdoors (10 minutes of unstructured play) toindoors (7 hours in front of any size electronic screen.) Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods) intervieweda boy who preferred to play indoors because that is where all the electricaloutlets were. Is this your kid? Summerimmersed in Multiplayer video games and social media?

Why nature? Naturegets kids moving and makes them think.Unstructured play is a different type of stimulation which unleashescreativity and imagination. It builds confidence as they become comfortable inparks, trails, backyards or neighborhoods.First thing, the parents need to get off their social media and realizethey have their children for only a few years.Make those years count.

The National Park Service asked this question on Father'sDay. How many of us were firstintroduced to the beauty of a national park by our dad? (Let's include mom,parents, grandparents, friends.) With over 400 national parks, go visit thereal deal, not stare at a picture on a screen.

Oklahoma has 33 state parks with caves, springs, hills,wildlife areas, camp sites, picnic tables, and places to lay your littleheads. You can swim, fish, camp, boat orhike. Go do it.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has been connecting kids with nature for decades. When families spend time outdoors, they form lasting bonds with nature. Ranger Rick has been in action for over 50 years.

NWF Wildlife and Monarch Watch signs at the Japanese Peace Garden

The Japanese Peace Garden (JPG) recently became a newWildlife Habitat Garden certified by the National Wildlife Federation. For over 45 years the NWF has recognized over227,000 certified gardens. Must be true, because the JPG is #228,826! Backyards, schools, churches, farms, parks,college campuses and other places can all become certified wildlife habitats. TheButterfly Garden at the Pottawatomie County OSU Extension soon will be. It's fun, easy and helps the wildlife, forexample the bees and butterflies. Whichis why the JPG is also part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, anational effort to create a million gardens to provide places for decliningpollinators.

Nature.Unwavering. Monarchs have drawnhuge attention to the problem of habitat destruction and change. I can see differences even around Shawnee inthe way people manage their lawns and landscapes. Some have abandoned mowing their totalacreage in lieu of making paths around the perimeters, leaving the wildflowersand native vegetation intact. Tell meagain why you must repeatedly mow your acreage.Before you and yours settled in the Shawnee area, the land hosted adiverse range of native plants and animals. Does yours?

Nature. Sexual. Thecrawdads know the time has come to make hay, and they have been carelesslycrossing the road between two ponds. Itried to move a few using my umbrella handle as a small shovel. The gutsy crustaceans would rear back ontheir tails and extend their little pinchers out wide, waving them as a warningthat they would take me apart limb from limb if I got too close. Alas, several snakes have demonstrated noroad sense.

Ditto for the male squirrel.I gently tossed his body into some tall plants. The young female hopped over where I wasstanding and looked up at me as if to ask 'where is my buddy?' She sat there for a moment, then closelycircled my feet. One more time sheraised her head and our eyes met before she bounded off across the deadly road.

Nature. Mysterious. What a wild ride. Summer started June first on the meteorological calendar, but astronomically Midsummer arrived yesterday June 21st. Longest day of sunlight for 2019. People from around the world waited through the night just to see the sun rise to the northeast over Stonehenge, showcasing the alignment of the central Altar stone with the Slaughter and Heel stones. My family has walked in the Stonehenge circle when nearly deserted. Those stones have their own atmosphere.

Frozen Peep Bunny

Speaking of stones. Willmy last Easter Peep bunny ever get hard?I love a Peep that is hard and crunchy, but the excessive humidity hasforced me to take drastic action. Peepbunny is now in the freezer awaiting its fate before it can thaw.


'Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over ifyou just sit there.' Will Rogers