Friday, February 22, 2008

Backyard Bugs

When I was in college I did an internship at the Philadelphia Zoo. The duration of my summer was spent inside a small rotunda with about 75 different kinds of bugs. Like African hissing cockroaches, scorpions and tarantulas. Part of our 'job' was to become very familiar and comfortable with the animals on exhibit because the kids were allowed to hold most of them, and we had to be able to transfer them from the terrariums to their arms.


So I got over my fears of scorpions pretty effing quickly.

After a few days I realized that these creatures, who most people treat with scorn, are really quite exquisite. After that, my love of insects only got more intense. (Except for bees. I HATE bees.) I ended up doing my senior project on crayfish, which are like insects that live underwater. And all of this was because I was pressed to move beyond my comfort zone and really learn to appreciate creatures totally different from myself.

I hope one day that I can do the same thing for my children. When they come home with worms or lizards, snakes or rodents, I'll do everything I can to foster and encourage their interest. Maybe one day they'll write a paper on the combative nature of Orconectes obscurus.

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