They arrived from the city
ready
to meet the animals.
We explained
who likes to be petted
and who doesn’t.
And they respected
all the boundaries,
pretty much.

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Meeting the goats, alpaca, Maizey and finding an egg

On fall break from school
in Oklahoma City,
children of families
from Cornerstone United Methodist Church
arrived curious and excited
and open to discoveries
in the natural world.
“It’s beautiful!” they said—
about tree bark,
a Lady Bug,
a sunflower,
a Red Wiggler Worm.
They noticed the colors around them—
orange, yellow, green, brown,
even blue…
Blue?
Where do you see blue?
The sky!

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They were curious
and excited
and free
to explore.
They soon got the hang
of using the jeweler’s loupe
and looked closely
at everything—
seeing things they couldn’t otherwise
see,
and then calling the adults over,
showing us.

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DSCN1770Exploring along Doe Creek, getting to know a 100-year-old Red Cedar, looking closely
at plants and bugs, watching a Lady Bug in the grass, picking a bouquet, showing adults
the fruit of an Osage Orange tree
.

No one liked spiders
or webs—
even the beautiful (they didn’t think so)
Orb Spinners
in their shining webs.
It took them awhile
to accept it was okay
to have wet shoes
walking in grass,
heavy with dew.
They didn’t hesitate to hold worms
or get their little fingers
black with composted soil
harvesting sweet potatoes.

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In them,
in their curiosity,
courage,
appreciation,
freedom
to lead
exploration in the natural world
is hope
for the future health
of the planet.

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Our gratitude to The Disciples of Christ Foundation, which has awarded a grant to Turtle Rock Farm for nature education of young people, for sponsoring the Cornerstone families’ trip. To learn more about bringing youth to TRF, contact us: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com