A Thought from The Wah

Hello everyone! This is Tim, Wahkeena’s Spring intern. I am not Robyn.

“I brake for teachable moments.” That’s what the bumper sticker on my car says. Any chance I get to entice curiosity and facilitate discovery, I take it. If you ask about something in the nature center, you’re almost guaranteed to hear from me, “What do you think?” So this morning when a child asked me what was in the aquarium, I responded with “What do you think they are?”

I didn’t expect to hear “snake-fish”, but after she said it, I looked back in to the tank and understood her guess: small wriggly animals living in water. Makes sense when you’re seven and have never seen tadpoles and don’t know what a toad is. So we used our skills of observation and other resources at hand to learn something new.

First we compared snakes and fish: Both have scales, two eyes, no legs. Basic observations. But when I asked her how they breathe, we discovered the difference between gills and lungs and which animals use which.

When I told her that the animals in the tank would lose their gills and develop lungs, her eyes got wide with wonder, then scrunchy and perplexed. These animals weren’t snakes OR fish. What could they be?

Enter the Golden Guide to Frogs & Toads, stage right, with an encore performance. It told us about a whole new kind of animal that absorbed certain parts, grew others, and had multiple stages of life in different environments.

Discovery, curiosity, and excitement are the foundations of my work, whatever I may be doing. Today, a light of excitement turned on in a little girls eyes that I can only hope will stay lit for many years to come, illuminating every path of her life.

I’m sure there’s something here that can turn that light on for you too. What do you think?

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