Earth Day 2010 is scheduled for April 22. My city celebrated it yesterday, April 17, with a small festival. I helped out with the local chapter of Master Naturalists. We had tables full of goodies, from fish specimens to bones, for kids to explore. This year, I got to be the bone lady. We had skulls of a variety of things including a wee turtle, leg bones from birds and mammals, vertebra, and the like. My favorite was the skull of the javelina, (Don’t Call Me Pig) and the feral hog. My role was to help the kids handle these fragile items carefully so they would not get broken. Most of these kids have never seen a skull before so there is a lot of wonder in their eyes to hold and feel one. They would ask what things were and I would ask questions back.

  • What does it eat?
  • What does it remind you of?
  • Have you ever seen anything in your yard with a long skinny head and sharp teeth? (Possum)
  • How does this skull compare to that? Do you think they are the same kind of animal? Why? Why not?
  • Feel this bone. (A thigh bone from a large wading bird, about 12 inches long.)
  • Now feel this one. (Thigh bone from a small land animal, about 6 inches long.)
  • Which one is heavier? (The mammal)
  • What kind of thing would need to have a bone that light?

And so on throughout the day. It was fun to see the kids who made connections from one thing that they knew to the new thing they were seeing. Those are the ones that you know will hold on to something. They have made a connection.

Earth Day. Connections. That, I think is one of the purposes of the day. Once a year we make a point to celebrate our connection to the earth. With some of the kids I saw, there were beginnings of connections. But these connections are not a one day affair. We can begin with a day, but we need to shoot for a lifetime.

What are your plans for Earth Day?