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   piece of cardboard. We started to look up their names and learn what they eat, and other cool facts. We honed in on their colors and unique shapes and made comparisons. To this day, we still talk about it.
So, let’s explore some activities that you can experi- ence in your neck of the woods to instill a bit of wild into your child. First off, western Maine has endless opportunities to experience nature and all of its wildness, and all you need is a bit of imagina- tion, and the will to explore.
Critter Catching
This was a big part of my younger days, and a huge part of my children’s upbringing. Every log within
a mile of our home has been rolled over a million times, and every time it was moved, a new discovery was made: salamanders, centipedes, millipedes, ants, snakes, wood snails ... it was always like a mini-safari! I am also of the school that it is perfectly fine to catch a frog, a toad, a salamander, turtle, etc. without worry. It’s important to have that direct connection, espe- cially to something alive. To gain a deep respect for living things, it’s important to understand first-hand how to interact, and the sense of touch is important to make these connections. You won’t get warts from picking up a toad, but they will pee on you!
At an early age, I was given a fishing rod, a few hooks, and a Daredevil spoon-type lure. It didn’t take long before I was digging around for worms and I started catching fish, mostly sunfish, and maybe a perch
or pickerel here and there. I vividly remember the excitement of not knowing what was tugging on my line until I had it back to shore, and then the chaos ensued as I tried to unhook my catch. I remember how brightly colored the sunfish were, and how pokey the dorsal fin was on a yellow perch, or the smell of
a pickerel. If Yankee Candle made a pickerel-scented candle, it would transport me right back to Lovewell Pond when I was 7! Fishing all by itself has made a huge impact on my life. There are so many places to go and species to seek that you could spend an entire summer fishing and barely scratch the surface. You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime!
Wildlife Tracking
It’s important to understand that there are many other wild things that call our stomping grounds home. If you look around you’ll find tracks in the mud or sand, maybe scat, or even bits of fur or feath- ers. Imagine what animal may have been here and what they were doing. Another fun activity is making a plaster cast using plaster of Paris to make models of various tracks you find.
      Arts, Entertainment, Adventure and More in Western Maine

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