I don’t think I could ever say enough good about 4-H. Those years when my kids were involved were some of the very best of our lives. The discipline, the learning, the friends, and the fun we all had will forever be a part of my memories. The life lessons they absorbed have gone with them into their adult lives, and in one case – a wonderful wife was gained!
I really don’t think the Reptile and Amphibian program was available when my children were involved. Or maybe we were just too busy with our goats along with the guinea pigs, ducks, and writing on the side. Not to mention the other art, sewing, floral, lego, table setting and woodworking categories that we entered at the fair as well!
IF, however, this program was waved before my eyes back then, I do think we would have jumped on it. With a family of seven children, all of them girls except for six (Ha! Gotcha!) we seemed to have our share of those critters being brought home on a regular basis. Which leads me to this:
The Great Escape of the Blue Skink
My son Gabe, who was probably around 10 at the time, was at a church picnic I think when he discovered this fantastic little creature on the property of Meadow Ridge in Windsor. I don’t remember how he caught him or what we brought him home in, but he ended up in the aquarium where we had several other little anole lizards that had been brought back from Florida.
It was definitely in a class by itself. We didn’t know that blue skinks, as we later learned he was, were even in Ohio. His brilliant blue tail and black stripes were really quite stunning, almost tropical-like, and Gabe was enamored with him. He seemed happy in his new home, though, as with all of those little speed demons, we had to be careful when we lifted the screen lid. Lizards are quick!
One afternoon it happened. The lid was raised, and in half a wink, he was out the top and on the floor. The aquarium was about 12 feet from the back door diagonally. He scurried to the edges of the room and we were furiously trying to catch him. Just then, a new acquaintance I had recently met came to the door. I didn’t know her well at all, and didn’t want to be rude, so I was letting her in with her kids. I was well aware of the situation and just hoped the lizard would stay on the other side of the room. But no. He must have smelled the fresh air and bee-lined over. Normally, I would have slammed that door shut, but I couldn’t this time. I still remember the awful feeling in my belly as I watched that pretty little blue skink run out the door to freedom. I felt terrible. Never again was another found like that guy.
I find reptiles to be fascinating creatures. I have a lizard tattoo on my ankle, I have drawn several and, as I said, we have had our share of anoles, chameleons and that special skink. Snakes also came and went, especially if they were little. We have had big ones ‘visit’ us too – but that’s another story entirely!
Now your children can participate in 4-H Reptile and Amphibian programs. You can find information about the Portage County program by clicking THIS link. What a wonderful nature study, home school project or hobby to let the kids explore – and you too! Here’s the first page of what you’ll see at that link. Think about it – it could be the beginning of a lifetime study or even a degree in herpetology!