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A lesson learned for a young boy?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

It was a chilly 29* this morning as I took Emma for her first outs.  I was sure glad I had dumped the tanks last night and left the grey water valve open so I could leave the kitchen water faucet dripping overnight so the water hose wouldn’t freeze up my water supply.  That worked, and I’ll be doing the same thing tonight as it is forecasted to be even colder.

My workday today consisted of roving in the morning, and working the VC in the afternoon.  I had the refuge vehicle heat pumping away as I slowly drove the Swamp Island Wildlife Drive first thing.  I keep the windows down as I move along so I can hear as well as see what might be out and about along the drive.  As you might guess, there weren’t any visitors to talk to, but being the first one on the drive for the day does increase the chances of seeing wildlife in my opinion.

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I heard that familiar ‘chip’ that made me step on the brakes and turn the engine off.  Sure enough, an endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) was working one of the longleaf pines right outside the passenger’s window.  Its feathers were pretty fluffed up to ward off the cold.

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This bird was traveling amongst the pines by itself.  I’m wondering if maybe it will be one of the birds that the refuge biologist will capture and move to an area to find a mate.  He gets to try to play matchmaker with lone birds.  RCWs often move around in family groups, and being an endangered species, steps are taken to help them find their true love.  I’m hoping that when I can ambulate more normally that I might be able to help out with this work.

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Too soon, for me, it was time for lunch and then my stint in the VC.  You know I’d much rather be outside.  I did catch a view of this red-headed woodpecker as I was pulling in to park outside the VC.

It was pretty slow until a group of 37 young boys and their chaperones descended on the visitors center.  They had been out canoeing the swamp for several hours.  I had thought they were possibly a Boy Scout troop, but later found out it was a church group outing.  It’s kind of like a flash flood when a group this large flows into the VC all at once.  They dashed around the exhibits for a while, and then all went in to view the 14 minute video about the swamp in the auditorium.  I was working alone at that time, so couldn’t monitor everything at the same time as setting up the video.

After the video, they went out to board their bus to go visit the Homestead before it closed.  That is until one of the older chaperones came in with a young boy in tow, and told him to tell me what he had done.  The boy, about 8 or so I’d guess, gave me a five dollar bill, and said he took it from the donation box.  Uh Oh.  I called for the brown shirt on duty and asked her what she wanted to do about it.  She just stood there, so I turned to the boy and asked him what gave him the right to take money that someone had donated to save the swamp.  Of course, he had no answer, but he did hang his head and begin to shake.  The brown shirt then told him he could be arrested for stealing.  I asked him if he was sorry for what he had done, and then told him to put the money back where he had found it. 

I also told him that the best thing he had done was to admit to taking the money, and returning it.  Tears were coursing down his face as he left.  I sure hope that young lad learned a lesson today…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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