I was worried that I would miss today’s lesson in our wonderful Edible Peace Patch, but I made it just in the nick of time. I knew being part of a historic march on the Capitol for environmental justice was worth being gone for, but it saddened me to miss a lesson with the kids, especially since I had forgotten to tell them I would be gone.
With seconds to spare, I leaped out of one of the vans which had taken 225 of us Eckerd students all the way up to Washington DC to call on Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada’s tar sands. I dropped off my bags, hopped into Alina’s car, and we sped off to the garden and the children.
Today’s lesson was an especially exciting one. Bugs!
“Legs!” the children shouted out as we indicated the picture on our portable blackboard. “Head!” they shouted in excitement as we indicated the head. They needed a bit of help with “thorax” and “abdomen”, but by the end of the day Gavin, one of Ms. Early’s 1st graders, after drawing his termite, pointed to the back of his insect and asked me how to spell “abdomen”. What do you know, after a fun day spent mostly rooting around in the ground looking for ants, termites, roly-polies, spiders, and grubs (and reassuring the children that they were harmless) the lesson had worked!
The kids did not want to leave the garden and their obliging teacher let them stay an extra 10 minutes with us, but eventually the time came to leave and to give back all the little insects we had collected back to nature and back to the garden. With the rest of our time we watered the beds and planted cauliflower and more radishes. We also harvested some lovely looking okra from our now-chest-high okra plants.
I must have caught some of the children’s infectious imaginations for as we worked, I fantasized about all the colorful insects they had drawn, flying/crawling/squirming around the garden as they pollinated our plants and decomposed our compost for us.
Until next time,
If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
E. O. Wilson