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eaglebeach, Contributor

I have always loved nature, chemistry and biology.

I did not become interested in small creatures until I became a soccer mom. On one occasion, the entrance to the practice field was through a baseball field entrance, the pipe was open and wasps came out and stung a younger sibling of one of my children's teammates. I retrieved some wasp killer to make sure it didn't happen again.

The week after the wasp killing, a girl asked me what a different bug was. I wasn't sure but I collected it in a discarded water bottle and took it home to look it up. It was a cow killer, so I praised the girl for bringing it to my attention and told all the other kids about the creature.

From then on, any time a kid on the soccer field saw an insect, they ran to me to ask about it. I rarely had the answer for them, but I would do my best to find out. We all learned a lot about creatures. Many of us came to realize that we live at a zoo that is better than any zoo, with beautiful and strange creatures that are intelligent and have a role to play in the circle of life.

I run the facebook page for our local environmental advocacy group. The page didn't work out as we had hoped it would where people would post their own nature pictures. I did take many photographs of interesting creatures as a result of this involvement. Some photos were posted on our site by my fellow admins that incorrectly identified creatures. I am a bit of a perfectionist so I explained that we should not post things unless we were sure. That is when I discovered

While I posted pictures of all sorts, I learned that many people don't see the beauty of small creatures as much as I do. I was still drawn to taking pictures of them. I collected them. I was busy with day to day activities that we all have, working, raising kids, helping our parents, family and friends, etc...

My kids are now both in college and now I have time to look at the world again through old and new photos. I love learning about the beautiful creatures.

The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I am perhaps learning about this all the wrong way. I see something cool and try to learn about it; rather than learning about it and applying what I learn. My way is definitely not the fast way of learning, but for me anyway, it is the fun way of learning. It allows me to ponder questions and explore.

I am forever grateful to I could never have learned so much and enjoyed learning so much without you.