Volunteer with DNS and see the world anew

I so enjoyed Sally Shuffield’s column (Herald, Dec. 12) comparing children’s uncanny capacity to find hidden Christmas presents to pinyon blue jays’ amazing capacity to remember where they hide their cache of pine nuts. What a wonderful analogy!

I had the great privilege and joy to participate in Durango Nature Study’s fall training program to guide local students through the inspiring learning process of the natural world. Durango Nature Studies is truly a gift to our beautiful Southwest community.

Children learn to recognize animal tracks on the paths, which can be anything from raccoons to bear to mountain lions. There is a certain awesome feeling to realize that a mountain lion just walked on this same path, perhaps only minutes ago.

They also learn to recognize animal scat as one of the telltale signs of the kinds of animals that live in this remarkable ecosystem. They learn how to tell the difference between a crow and a raven from the shape of their tail feathers. They learn about how the creepy-crawly things that grow in the river under rocks contribute to the life of the whole natural community. We all learn the difference between a Rocky Mountain juniper cedar and a Utah juniper cedar and how essential the pinyon jay is in the perpetuation of these trees even as they feed themselves for generations by hiding those nutrition-rich nuts and how they remember where they hide them.

DNS provides an incredible service to our Four Corners children, parents and community to expand our consciousness as to how we live on this planet together and how important it is that we must respect ourselves, each other and our environment – and how we can contribute in a positive way to our remarkable living Mother Earth.

DNS opportunities include star gazing, archaeological day explorations and survival techniques. DNS staff members share their awesome dedication, their vision, skills, life experiences from all over the world and their limitless, loving hearts with all of us!

Do yourself a favor: Volunteer and discover to see the world with brand-new eyes!

Susan Urban

Durango

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