Re: NANFA-- collecting with kids
Sat, 9 Aug 2003 21:59:01 EDT

In a message dated 8/7/03 2:47:53 PM US Central Standard Time, writes:

<< Does anyone have any experience taking kids out collecting? I'm doing
research for an article and would love to hear about such trips.>>

A little direct experience taking a good friend of mine and his two juvenile
boys. 15 years later, all three of them still do it occasionally and stock
both of their ornamental ponds with native fish and turtles. Both took friends
collecting in the local stream. The one taught his girlfriend and they carry
a net when they canoe. I imagine since they are now married, they will pass
it along to their kids.

I've noticed adults and kids alike are generally fascinated with what you are
dipping stuff out of the water. Let them have a net and they go nuts,
particularly if they catch something. Even the ones who have no desire to have
aquariums. Pulling up a net is sort of like lottery tickets, only it rewards more

Each August, the Parks Department puts on "Bug Fest" at Southeastway Park
here in Indianapolis. Besides all the butterflies, bugs, flowers, and arts and
crafts, they have a pond. They DNR loans out nets and have displays and
holding tanks. Kids and adults alike are running around dipping and having great

I could probably get you the e-mail addresses of some of the DNR people that
work that area if you would like to contact them.

They don't advertise the event heavily but there are always lots of folks.
The park is in a relatively unpopulated area and somewhat difficult to find. I
have a theory that most of the ones attend already are interested in nature.

Liz always sets up a display of live caterpillars and mounted moths. I get a
real kick out of helping her run it. Surprisingly, many of the kids know
more about the stuff than their parents. Someone in the school systems somewhere
are doing good.

<<Also, does anyone have any recollections of collecting with an adult when
they were kids? >>

I'm sure my father took me but I don't recall going with him. There was a
channelized drainage ditch in back of our house I spent a lot of time kicking
rocks. I recall my Dad occasionally dropping me off in the country at a stream
and coming back and picking me up hours later a mile upstream. You can't do
that stuff anymore but it was great for me: just a seine net and an old metal
minnow bucket.

Chuck Church
Indianapolis, Indiana USA
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