Submitted by Terry VanDeWalle, senior biologist (Waterloo, IA)
My hope is that these guides, and others like them, will inspire people, particularly kids, to get outside, get messy, and enjoy nature. Many kids these days are growing up without the chance to experience nature firsthand, without the chance to hold a frog or a snake, or watch a monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. We need these experiences to keep us connected to the earth and the other creatures that live here with us. As Chief Seattle said, “If all of the animals were to die, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.”
And as a biologist, I also hope that engaging and educational tools such as these guides may even encourage kids to pursue careers in fields like wildlife biology and environmental science. The biologists and scientists at companies like Stantec regularly get outside in the mud and the muck, working with diverse groups of plants and wildlifesuch as those I described in the guidebooks.