I recently read “Letter from Eden” by Julie Zickefoose, it stirred up some long lost thoughts. As a kid I spent quite a few summers at the Dayton Museum of Natural History (now the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery). I took classes there, I learned taxidermy and painting with Holly, went seining with Clay. I volunteered to help clean the live animal cages. As I read this book the class that kept coming back to me most was Junior Naturalist. Tom Hissong taught the class. What an amazing experience that class was, I wanted to be a Naturalist.
Things got weird at home as a teenager, being a naturalist and the museum both were lost in the haze. I became very good at being an escape artist. I learned how to escape from everything via my bike and skateboard.
When I was reading this book I again started to dream the dreams of that lanky teenager. Julie’s passion for birds and animals of all sorts is infectious. Her stories reminded of why I took time to raise a squirrel my Mom found in her driveway.
Why like a goof ball I will stop and move animals out of the roadway. Why the call of a bard owl still excites me. I am glad that I am one of many who have these same feelings. I am grateful that I had teachers like Tom Hissong, Holly Coovert, Bob Sexton and many more. And thanks to Julie’s book for reminding me of why these things matter.