Yesterday my daughter asked me, "Mama, what does a llama say?" I had no idea, so I asked her what she thought a llama might say. She said, "The llama says, 'Hmmm.'"
Well, I do know what frogs say, and most do not say ribbit. Today, my little girl asked me to once again visit the USGS frog site so that she could hear a green frog and a bullfrog.
Let me explain. In the spring and summer, I am one of many volunteers who helps the DNR collect information about frogs and toads. Before I go out "frogging" as I call it, which really means spending 2-3 hours driving a set route at night listening to frog calls during their mating season, I always refresh my memory by visiting this site: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/frogquiz/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.lookup. Now it may sound silly, but if anything goes out of balance, acquatic animals such as fish and amphibians can be the first to show signs of distress.
Anyway, early last June, I took my very young daughter out late one night to hear the bullfrogs and green frogs at a local park. As I pulled to a stop in the inky black parking lot and looked around at the other cars, I was reminded that this was also a local hangout for "couples" who were probably wondering what a lady was doing putting a toddler into a stroller and wheeling her down toward the pond at 10:00 at night. In fact, one couple even stopped me to ask me about it. No, I was not some crazed lunatic taking a child out to "swim with the fishes" but instead was a very consciencious parent raising her child not to fear the darkness but instead to appreciate the beauty within it. That night was a very special experience for both of us. I know because my daughter will frequently ask to hear the sounds of those two types of frogs over all the others.
Lots of animals (and plants) share our world, but it is our responsibility to care for the planet. After all, we're the ones messing it up, not them.
If I could share only one book about this topic, it would be Schim Schimmel's Children of the Earth... Remember. His artwork is astounding and his message is clear. I can hardly wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy it.