Filed under: Justice + Outreach, Nature + Travel | Tags: Alviso California, California Clapper Rail, environmental education, hecklers, puppet show, Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
I never thought I would move back to Lawrence after graduating in 2003. I came back last year, out of necessity, after spending 6 months in San Francisco.
In San Francisco I worked as an intern for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, taught environmental education, and led a field trip program. It was there that I met a pudgy third grader named Juan.Juan came from a low income community in Alviso, CA. He, and most of the children in his class, had never been on a field trip, let alone outside of their small town.
Part of my job as an intern, my least favorite, was to put on a puppet show starring Cali the California Clapper Rail and Salty the Salt
Marsh Harvest Mouse. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be heckled by small children who weren’t impressed with my performance. Hecklers would call out, “Hey, I can see you behind that curtain,” or “She can’t sing.”
But this day was different. Through the black veil of the puppet show stage I could see a small round boy in the front row propped up on his knees so excited about my puppet show he couldn’t sit still. At the end of the show he jumped up laughing and cheered. I never had such a rave review.
Later that afternoon, Juan came to me and said,”Miss Tina I never saw a play as good as yours. I love it.” For the first time I realized how important that puppet show actually was and that I had the power to leave an impression. That was what brought me back to Lawrence, to KU. I will graduate this year with a degree in Environmental Studies ready to take on hecklers everywhere. Thanks Juan.
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