Monday, July 9, 2012

Oh, those lizards

The park I work at hosts several "cultural camps" for varying ages over the course of the summer. This week, we have a gaggle of 6 to 8 year olds, exploring, learning, and playing. During our break, the campers have a choice between playing kickball or staying with the ranger, hula hooping (the campers hula hoop- it turns out the uniform interferes with rangers getting quality hula hoop time). The campers who opt for the hula hoop time also tend to "find" things. Like snails. And dead cicadas covered in ants. And lizards. Oh, those lizards. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the campers like to share their discoveries. "Hey, look here Ranger Elizabeth!" And I can't deny a child's exploration, so I choke down the gross vibes and feign interest. "You are right, Johnny! That IS a cool looking caterpillar!" [gag]

This morning, I heard several comments about the lizards. Oh, those lizards. Campers tend to be particularly fascinated by the brilliantly green reptiles. I had noticed that the lizards seemed to move a little slow and the campers commented accordingly. Then I heard one or two campers mention that the lizards were shedding. "There was this weird thing on it," one little girl described to me. "Mm-hmm," I reply. "That's neat." Then another little girl said, "here is one with two! This one is helping that one!"

What? What is she talking about?

I walked over to investigate. Now, I am no lizard-ologist, but I have seen enough National Geographic Explorer shows in my lifetime to figure out what the two lizards were doing. Explorer Elizabeth wanted to use this moment to share about the Circle of Life. But Awkward Elizabeth beat her, knowing that I was not ready to have a Circle of Life conversation with a 6 year old. 

"Yep, two lizards! How about a hula hoop contest!?"

Oh, those lizards.

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