|Me, Katie and Cassidy looking for sallies.|
|Shortly after this picture was taken, I had to "rescue" my daughter |
from the mud as she went in over her boots. It happens!
Almost all the programs offer a chance for participants to handle the salamanders, or sallies as my daughter calls them. With hands clean and wet, giving kids and adults alike an opportunity to hold these unique and, let's face it, adorable little creatures is key to gaining their interest and appreciation. A friend once told me that his "threshold experience" was exploring a creek and turning rocks and finding salamanders when he was a kid. These kinds of experiences are what bring out that passion for nature in children, and adults! Just look at the expressions on their faces!
|Trying their best to take turns, and learning how to|
hold the sallies properly.
|She told me later that this was her favorite part. :-)|
|I love her multi-painted nails. She certainly didn't mind getting them dirty. :-)|
|No fear of these slimy little creatures!|
And it's also fun to find all the other creatures that live, breed, and hunt these vernal pools. We had a veritable gold mine of finds on our Saturday morning hike, including predaceaous diving beetles, isopod larvae, spring peepers,
|Spring peeper belly|
and even a dandy of a garter snake. The group got distracted for a good 15 minutes by this beauty!
|Beautiful garter snake|
So, if you're looking for something to do in the next few weeks, get yourself and your kids out and explore a vernal pool near you. Be sure to work with a knowledgeable person, have permission from the property owner, and handle those critters gently and with clean, wet hands. Hopefully, it will be the threshold for a love of all things nature for both you and your kids for years to come.