Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Our Budding Environmentalist

Today we had an impromptu field trip to a semi-local little zoo. (aka: the kids earned free tickets to said zoo in the library's summer reading program, and the tickets were only good during the month of September, but since we received them in July, I forgot about them until last night and today was the only day this week we could go before the tickets expired, so... we went.) The zoo's brochures read "picnics welcome", so I packed up a stunning picnic of peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread, individual bottles of 100% apple juice, pretzles, and chocolate chip cookies for us to enjoy while at the zoo. The zoo had these great little picnic areas set up throughout the park so that you could eat while overlooking various paddocks throughout the park. The kids decided that they wanted to eat the first portion of thier lunches (i.e. PBJs and apple juice) while keeping an eye out for the black bear... who seemed to be in nap time like 90% of the other animals.

When we finished eating, I asked the kids to put thier trash in the trash can. Everyone dutifully gathered up thier sandwich wrappers, napkins, and juice bottles and placed them in the trash. Secondo was the last one at the trash can and distractedly (she was afraid to take her eyes off of the bear paddock for fear of missing the bear) placed her trash in the can... or so I thought.

After I heard the trash door close, I noticed that Secondo was slowly spinning around and looking confused. She still had her juice bottle in her hand.

"Where's the recycling bin?"

"I don't think they have them, munchkin. Just put your bottle in the trash can and we'll go see if we can see the bear from the other side." (Bad granola mommy, I know.)

"But this is a zoo. They take care of animals. They should have recycling bins."

"You're right. They should. But they don't, so just..."

"I'm going to hold on to my bottle and put it in the recycling bin when we get home."

"Okay, but you have to carry it." (attempting to make up for my reduce - reuse - recycle lapse with a good dose of personal property responsibility training)

"I know." (Pensive pause.) "Mom?"


"Can I write a letter to the zoo people when we get home? They really should get recycling bins."

"Um... well... sure. That's a good idea." (Said in my best "don't sound shocked, be encouraging" voice)

Apparently that training by example thing really works. (Except that Secondo has me beat. I only recycle when it's convenient, apparently. I was so tempted to make everyone fish their bottles out of the trash can and take them all home to recycle them to save face.)

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