The Cub Scouts met in the conservation district last Monday night to do their part for Earth Day. We were there – scouts and parents – to collect trash. Unfortunately, the groundskeepers had cleaned up the paths earlier in the day. The kids ended up fighting over what little remained: mostly empty beer bottles and a bunch of cigarette butts.
On the way, the pack leader said we might see some animals or some interesting plants. We did find a small garter snake; probably psychologically scarred after being petted by two dozen Cub Scouts. Otherwise, with the kids yelling at each other to be quiet and look for animals, needless to say we didn’t see any deer and very few birds. Even the mosquitoes seemed to stay their distance.
We were more successful on the plant front. Meka was in full botanist mode as she pointed out various herbological wonders. We saw trout lilies carpeting the area under trees, their pale flowers pointing down. Meka pointed out horsetails, bamboo-looking plants that went back as far as the age of the dinosaurs.
However, you didn’t need to know much about plants to be impressed by our biggest find of the night. It really hit home with the Earth Day message and made us all think: you know, there really might be something to this whole global warming thing. For there along the path to one side, were rows and rows of flat spiky cactus plants, growing green and healthy in the dark brown soil of northern Illinois!