bug hunting

March 5, 2007

It occurred to me today that I may have hit a point of no return, after which I will never be able to return to the confines of a “normal” school curriculum–I am falling in love with the freedom of my schoolhouse setting. This afternoon we went on a bug walk, thanks to a day of being a bit ahead of schedule with our day’s goals. Armed with only a blank notebook and pencil, we took off on a makeshift path through the grasses behind the schoolhouse. We first experimented with “owl ears,” a trick I learned back when I was the Nature Teacher for summer camp; by imitiating the shape of owl’s super-ears, cupping your hands behind your ears, you can noticeably improve your ability to hear the sounds around you. This makes for great fun when you close your eyes and see how many different animal sounds you can pick out as you listen.
Then it was time for tracking “bugs,” just open to seeing what we could find. I told them, as an intro, of the man I met in the jungles of Ecuador, whose house was filled with jars of brand new species of bugs. He lived so deep in the jungle that the village was only accessible via plane. After our Cessna landed on the strip, he greeted us and proudly showed off all the insects that he had been classifying over the years. After each discovery, he would report his findings to the insect experts [I’m afraid I forget who this was], who would confirm if it was truly an as-of-yet undiscovered variety. It turns out that there are in fact a great many creatures, especially out in such remote areas, that are still waiting to be “discovered” and properly classified.
Admittedly, my crew this afternoon had no such aspirations ☺ We did, however, happily observe several interesting insects and butterflies. Carefully sketching them and noting colors, size, and such, we eventually returned back to the school. A book of the insects of Rhodesia in our library allows for reasonable accuracy in pinpointing the species.
And so the first entry of hopefully many future Bushwalks is now carefully noted in our “Bushwalk Journal!”

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