"There is a spring peeper, see the American toad over there and the leopard frog next to it? And there is the winter hexagon if you just look up."
"Hey, that's not a Missouri frog!"
No, but when leading 'frog musical evenings' at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO, I take the opportunity to share the excitement of knowing the names of the stars of the winter hexagon and a few more of Orion. In early April when the frogs are the loudest and most visible in our wetland, the winter hexagon is easy to see and point out. Children and adults alike are excited to think they can learn several stars and constellations in one fell swoop.
For our Valentine's night hike, participants just thought they were coming for desserts and a hike in snow. But they were delighted to learn for the first time of the Orion nebula and actually see it through the Nature Reserve's 6" telescope. It was amazing to think that most of the fifty adults were experiencing their first look through a telescope and their first exposure to a nebula.
Our simple walks in nature introduce children and adults to a bit of the night sky. Thank heavens for the astronomy class I took with Road Scholar (Elderhostel) in Pingree Park, CO last summer. I love sharing what little I know and am learning continually. I always have my Astronomy magazine handy so that our participants see how accessible the information is. At age 62, I think I am showing that we are never too old to learn – and to teach.