Helena has been interested in animals and wildlife biology since she was a baby. She blurted out the word "doggy" amidst ecstatic giggles at 9 months, hands buried deeply in my friend's golden retriever's furry face.
And when I was driving in the car with her as a baby, I'd keep her content and put her to sleep making animal noises. "Doggy says 'Woof woof, woof woof'. Kitty says 'Meow, meow'..... ...." and so on - from the animals in the house, to those around it, to the ones in the deep forests, to the ones in the waters, to those around the world - and right on back again to the house. I had a very well thought out system in place because heaven forbid I paused - she'd be wide awake and grunting in discontent!
My sister once commented that she'd have to kill anyone who made all those animal noises when she was trying to fall asleep. I think that's when it first dawned on me that Helena was a bit passionate about animals. To her, falling asleep to animal sounds was beautifully comforting. And by the time she was 11 months old she was pouring through a picture book of 100 animals, asking in sign language if a moose was a bear and if not WHAT was it? Seriously. Sign for what is it. Sign for bear. Confused look. Sign for what is it.
Photo above and below: working on first biology lab, a plot study...
And I swear every injured animal around she finds! This summer alone we rescued a robin hit by a car which, unfortunately, died before we could get it to wildlife rescue people, and another robin that we transported 45 minutes each way to a vet that works with a local wildlife rescue organization.
Last year she found a not-quite-fledgling dove out of the nest after a storm and, per wildlife rescue directions, made it a nest in a basket to keep it off the ground where it would get moist and get parasites. Last year she also fed our tunafish lunch and water to an injured seagull on the beach.
This year, we found a nest of baby bunnies in our garden and she learned to put sticks in an "x" across the top to ensure mama rabbit was coming back to nurse them. Rabbits typically nurse once per day, but this mama, we discovered, was only coming every-other-day. We weren't sure she was coming at all, at first. That meant, per licensed wildlife rescue instructions (we have a lot of their phone numbers haha), that we needed to check their bellies for fullness and their bodies for warmth. They were just fine. But oh was Helena in her bliss checking on those wee little fur balls!!
And then there are all the posts on here of exploring lakesides, toad eggs, exploring outside of a beaver's lodge and so on... Helena is definitely my little wildlife biologist!
1. On her swing counting moss clumps in the tree for her plot study
2. Looking for insects for plot study
3. Making a to-scale drawing of the plot
In addition to the R.E.A.L. Science Biology 2 textbook from Pandia Press we also have the Backyard Biology book from above. Plus we ordered a number of free videos from HHMI.org - everything from evolution, to earth history and climate change, to the biology of skin color, to virtual labs, ecology, and neuroscience.
Plus we're really enjoying two Netflix biology series: Bionic Vet and Brain Games.
Lastly Do Unto Animals by Tracey Steward is a beautiful and fun book about life with pets and various ways we can make all animals' lives better.
Can't wait to see how this scientist girl of mine continues to make the world a better place for animals as she grows up!