Upon receiving my spring/summer South Suburban catalog, I am reminded that I am overdue on a letter of thanks to the Carson Nature Center and SSPRD …
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Upon receiving my spring/summer South Suburban catalog, I am reminded that I am overdue on a letter of thanks to the Carson Nature Center and SSPRD for last summer. I also want to let parents know about a great resource.
The kids’ classes at Carson Nature Center delivered the summer I wanted for my child but could not define. Our growing distance from rural life and the hazards of unfamiliarity with nature are clear in the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. Kids need long stretches of time outdoors to stack dead wood into a fort. Something deep within stirs and settles when they wade into the water catching crawdads and watching the current.
I was not feeling good about the summer I was able to give my daughter. Trips to an upscale water park did not assuage my lingering guilt. She had fun, but something was missing. Turns out it was toads.
I loved watching and holding toads on my grandparents’ ranch back in the 1960s and early ’70s, but I thought the ranch and everything tied to it had been lost forever. The “Survival Skills” class at the nature center taught my daughter where the Woodhouse toads live, as well as the poison ivy and cacti hazards along the way. She could hardly wait to return that evening as my guide. The next day, we were back with her friend. Their joy was off the charts.
In the weeklong Junior Rangers day camp she continued to learn how to play outdoors in their 880-acre natural playground. The course descriptions don’t state the goal that bluntly, but I suspect it. A highlight of the week was floating the South Platte in inner tubes. The route includes some waterfalls designed for kayakers, and the adventure level — which requires life preservers — certainly beat the water park. But overall, the toads prevailed. An experience of awe was not guaranteed, but it happened. Carson, thank you for it all.
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