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Connecting with Nature; A Rocky Road

The Nature Connection is looking for volunteers, and the library is looking for teens to make ice cream.

Today I have some sad news to report: Frogman Jo, who was a guest in my home just a short time ago, has unexpectedly met his maker. Fortunately, this did not happen while he was in my care, and therefore cannot be attributed to any neglect on my part. According to the notice sent out by his family, “Jo was a happy and sometimes lively frog who brought happiness to all who knew him.” He was ceremoniously buried in the garden, where I have no doubt he will contribute to the flourishing of the plants there.

Thankfully, when it comes to dealing with animals, the Nature Connection does a tip-top job, which is especially wonderful because these animals provide a valuable service. They visit people in vulnerable populations -- people with disabilities, at-risk youth, the elderly. They recently began visiting the residents at Concord Park Assisted Living Memory Support, a group that benefits hugely from seeing and interacting with a variety of animals.

When you’ve lost so much of your past, it’s important to find new connections, and the Nature Connection, which has had an office in the since 1983, does just that. According to Executive Director Sophie Wadsworth, they like to get people to engage visually with some animals, and physically with others. They talk about the animals before they come out of their cages, and then observe them as they are being held.

In addition to the animals, they bring miniature habitats, such as beach items, to elders, so they can be reminded of places they may have been. I know my stepfather, who loved the beach and had suffered a stroke, had a strong, positive reaction when presented with sand and seashells, reminding him of all the great summers he had spent up at Old Orchard Beach. I loved that he got to “go to the beach” without having to leave his wheelchair.

But the animals are the high point. The Nature Connection has both wild and domestic animals, an eclectic variety, let me tell you, from things as small as a snail or a tadpole to a prickly hedgehog and a furry chinchilla – I’ve petted that last one, and they are unbelievably soft. If you’ve ever had a pet, you know how calming it is just to stroke their fur, or to be able to hold a little creature. That’s what Nature Connection does for these people.

So here’s the deal: If you love animals and you have a reliable car, Nature Connection could use some help transporting animals from their homes in the Concord area to their office over at Emerson. They can also use volunteers to assist during the programs, though that requires training and at least a one year commitment. You can contact them at 978-369-2585, or check out their website at www.nature-connection.org, if you need more info.

And go give your pets a little extra love today; life is short and you never know when it will be their time to check out.

It’s a Rocky Road

Our Concord Library has done a fabulous job of offering a plethora of programs to keep kids of all ages busy this summer. And there is one more planned specifically for teens before the summer ends: Rocky Road, on Monday August 20 at 6 p.m. over at the . This is a fun opportunity to discuss the book Rocky Road, and then walk over to Reasons to Be Cheerful in West Concord to make Rocky Road ice cream.

Who wouldn’t want to do that??

But you do need to register, which you can easily do by calling 978-318-3358.

Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you spread the good news. And follow me on Twitter: @stefanie3131.

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