“How are the fish doing?” a small voice piped up from the back seat.
“Huh?” I replied.
“You know…how are their homes doing?”
“Oh…you mean where we helped on that project last summer?”
Seven months had passed, but it is remarkable what sticks in a five year old’s mind. My daughter and I had camped along a tiny trout stream tucked in the high desert of Wyoming. We were volunteering with the local Trout Unlimited chapter and Game & Fish to help out on a habitat improvement project. Together we spent the day anchoring juniper branches along the banks to prevent erosion and provide cover for native Colorado river cutts. I told my daughter we were making homes for trout. The idea stuck.
At the time I didn’t think much of our trip. We fish a lot, we camp often, and I do conservation work for a living. But for my daughter the trip, and the habitat project in particular, made an impact. The idea of making “homes” for fish resonated with her, now she’s invested in that place and those fish. In retrospect it’s not surprising. That’s how it works for most of us.
Seeing something first hand is where a connection begins. But seeing it happen, for the first time, in a five year old girl, is special.