This week a group of second graders came to Mariton. For most of the children this was their very first experience walking in the woods. Some of the children were a little apprehensive (Are there wolves and bears? Will deer attack us?). You have to realize that we were leading most of these children into the UNKNOWN; but then again everything was also NEW to them.
Their senses were overwhelmed. The sound of so many leaves hissing and rattling in the breeze was a brand new experience. Even the sound of a leaf falling on the ground was a new encounter that had to be realized, acknowledged and stored away. Smelling a sassafras stem, and then the root were new smells; but just as miraculous was that trees had scents.
Afterwards, I realized that even though these kids had every right to be nervous about these new surroundings, the excitement of discovery overrode their anxieties, and their enthusiasm was uncontainable. That made me really happy, because Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary had given them a cheerful outdoor experience.