FROM WILDFLOWER TO WALLFLOWER
A Girl Naturalist in Rural America
I HAD SET THE ALARM, but in my excitement, I awoke a half hour before it rang. At 4:00 a.m., there were still just slivers of light on the horizon, so I tiptoed out to the living room of our small cabin on Seneca Lake to avoid waking my two younger brothers.
Our town of Elmira, New York, was unbearably hot in the summer, so we escaped to a nearby cabin twenty-five miles away, where the forests worked their natural cooling magic. The cottage where we spent these summers was an abandoned gristmill. Many years before, probably almost a hundred, an elm tree had taken root on that mill site; my grandfather, a stonemason and carpenter, then lovingly constructed the cottage around its trunk, so it ran right up through the living room as a prominent feature. When it rained, water dripped through the roof, down the bark to a patch of soil nestled amid the stone floor. I often searched for tiny insects inhabiting all the woody fissures. The elm canopy stretched across the entire roof, shading our cottage during summer and standing sentinel with its bare branches in winter. I loved every inch of that tree right down to the diverse fungi that grew along the trunk when it fell victim to Dutch elm disease. Its special place inside our cabin was always such a comfort, and one of my saddest childhood moments was its death. On a dangerously tall ladder, my grandfather meticulously cut away all the dead branches, leaving the beloved trunk as a statue gracing the center of the cottage. My grandparents would occasionally allow me to harvest one of the flat, tough fungal brackets decorating the dead trunk adjacent to our dining room table. I did my creative best to etch designs and paint images of plants on these living canvases, sometimes called artist fungus. Summer at our rustic cabin was my refuge, where I could explore, observe, and collect, inhaling all the nature my small body could absorb.
I carefully shook Mom awake, then we crept outside before sunrise and quietly drove five miles along a dirt road to my favorite birdwatching pond. This nature trip was a huge deal for me. Mom did not even own binoculars, and all she knew about my feathered friends was that starlings sometimes tore up her spring lettuce sprouts. But she knew birdwatching brought immeasurable joy to me at the tender age of seven and so offered to drive to a special place for the dawn chorus—an exquisite concert sung by a winged choir at sunrise. Our old Rambler bounced along a dusty road, through cherry orchards where my brother and I earned money picking fruit, near an old haunted house that made my hair stand on end, past a one-room bar where farmers bragged about their corn. Willows encircled the pond’s edge, their roots adapted to soggy soil. A discarded, leaky old rowboat was tied to a branch. I had dreamed all summer of rowing out from the bank to observe egrets or herons. Those majestic birds would garner five big stars on my modest bird list if they appeared. When we arrived, my mom worried we were trespassing on some farmer’s property even though there was no house to be seen, so she very reluctantly climbed into that dilapidated dinghy, strewn with spiderwebs and dusty underpinnings. Away we paddled. This was as close as I ever came to feeling like a princess in a silver carriage, even though it was a rough-and-tumble contraption full of leaks! We rowed and bailed constantly, to keep afloat. Out in the middle of the pond, we stopped paddling and I focused my enormous Sears binoculars. They were ridiculously bulky, felt like they weighed almost as much as I did, and probably were not even capable of focusing, but they made me feel like a professional ornithologist. Much to my amazement, as if on cue, a great blue heron flew in and landed along the shoreline. Even my mom was overcome with awe.
Whereas kids today are beset with indoor technologies and fall prey to screen fatigue, I probably suffered from an overdose of plant oxygen and green blindness. From the day I could walk, I was a tireless collector of natural stuff. At the lake, I amassed piles of special shells and stones. Back in Elmira under my bed, I stashed wildflowers, twigs, bird nests, more stones, feathers, dead twigs (to study winter buds!), and even snakeskins. My parents indulged my love for nature in small but thoughtful ways, always stopping the car when I wanted to pick a roadside weed or offering encouragement for the crafts I made from sticks, leaves, bark, or other botanical remnants. I was a true nature nut. None of my local childhood friends shared this enthusiasm—and most definitely no one else in recent generations of the Lowman lineage had shared a passion for botany (although my grandfather obviously respected nature enough to retain an elm trunk amid his construction work). In rural upstate New York, we didn’t have easy access to museums, scientists as role models, or other resources to nourish a child’s love of natural sciences. All we had was outdoor play, but that simple pleasure transformed a small-town kid into a young naturalist.
Over long days outdoors, I developed patience for solo observations of the natural world that included many hours of silence. Such behavior may have reinforced my shyness. When I entered kindergarten, I became the class wallflower, miserable when confined indoors among noisy classmates. I almost never spoke in class except when called upon. The teacher told my mom something was quite wrong. I was carted off to our family doctor, who, in a gruff German accent, smiled and said, “Frau Lowman, have you considered the alternative?” On the last day of kindergarten, our teacher, Miss Jones, was grading workbooks. I admired her because she had humbly told us her story about why she had leg braces, living bravely with polio after some boys had pushed her into a stagnant pond during childhood, causing her to swallow filthy water. The teacher’s story haunted me and reinforced my fear of bullies. That year, I had a perfect kindergarten workbook, until the final day when my best friend, Mimi, became jealous and circled the wrong answer on the last page using her big black crayon. With heartbreak, I dutifully handed it in without a word. Miss Jones sighed and said, “Oh, Meg, you almost had a perfect workbook until today’s mistake.” Tears welled, and I gazed in horror as Miss Jones gave me a silver (not gold) star for the year. I did not even have the courage to tattle on my best friend. For many years afterward, Mimi and I stashed the infamous workbook in our secret tree fort, giggling about its controversial history. (She is still one of my closest friends, despite the loss of that gold star!) I later lamented not having a bona fide naturalist or professional botanist in my childhood, to guide and inspire me.
After reading their biographies at the public library, Rachel Carson and Harriet Tubman became my role models. Carson confronted the chemical companies, having figured out that songbirds were dying due to pesticides. She quietly but forcefully told her story so the public could understand the science. Tubman led slaves north along the Underground Railroad at night using moss on tree trunks as her navigational guide—truly a pioneering naturalist. I used to close my eyes in the woods, feel for the moss, and try to find my way—it was never easy, so I admired Tubman even more. My only two role models were deceased—in hindsight, I guess that trees substituted as exemplary living entities and offered many life lessons. They stand tall, benevolently providing shelter, stabilizing both soil and water, and always giving back to their community.
My three best (and only) kindergarten friends lived nearby and played outdoors in the woods with me, although sometimes reluctantly. Looking back, I owe my scientific career not just to a passion for collections, but also to a few loyal compatriots who were willing to explore the backyard. Mimi was one of ten children in her family and my alter ego, because she was brave and outspoken. Betsy came from a family of nine children, where she had access to her older sisters’ clothing; she was our fashion guru and much admired by all the boys. She was also my only friend who enjoyed birdwatching, which counted for a lot. Maxine was bold and funny, oftentimes blurting out crazy ideas. Once, she convinced us to smoke hollow sticks and we all thought our death from lung cancer was imminent. We were a devoted team, creating our little adventures before the town ever had cable television to watch National Geographic specials. A hundred feet behind my parents’ house, we imagined it was halfway to Siberia on our “hullaballoo expeditions,” a term we invented to secretly allude to our missions. Sometimes we took bologna sandwiches, a thermos of strawberry milk (my favorite), and a blanket to sit on. We always had some jars to collect critters, a plastic bag for plants, and a few empty shoeboxes for rescuing small creatures. Boys were not allowed. In those days, climate change was not part of the environmental vocabulary of youth, citizens, or even scientists, so the biggest threat to the local flora was gangs of teenagers running through the swamp and crushing the very blossoms I was so eager to collect. To avoid encounters with those boisterous boys, I learned to sit quietly and remain invisible in the woods, a good skill for a future field biologist.
The girls and I wanted a secret place where we could escape adults, boys, and all other distractions. We constructed a rough-hewn fort in the lower branches of a few birches and maples. Logs from my dad’s woodpile and a nearby thicket of young saplings provided our initial building materials. It was by no means an architectural wonder, just a few footholds nailed into place, plus some branches and blankets hauled into a wonderful sugar maple crotch about four feet off the ground (although it seemed more like a great expanse when we were six years old). We ate lunch up there, drew pictures, and told stories in our special hideout. Despite its rickety design, we wiled away many hours caring for baby birds that had fallen from their nests, trying to repair butterflies with broken wings, or simply amassing the flowers I later pressed and stashed under my bed. One afternoon, we rescued earthworms cut in half by our dads’ lawnmowers, trying to Band-Aid them back together, but the poor creatures did not survive our simplistic surgery. We role-played as explorers, nurses, heroines, scientists, and castaways. The birches, with their peeling white bark, inspired our imaginations to transform us into members of the local Cayuga tribe, who had used birchbark for canoes and other practical purposes. From that fort I learned the rudiments of forest succession, becoming aware of the tallest trees, strongest branches, shadiest canopies, and propensity of each species to house wildlife. Along with sumac and cottonwoods, birches were a relatively short-lived species in upstate New York, called early successional because they were the first to grow in a forest clearing, but their weak wood ultimately caused them to topple during high winds or snowstorms. Birches were then replaced by later successional (or climax) trees such as maple, beech, or hemlock. My parents had built our house on a cleared lot, so the backyard grew anew into forest; over the course of my childhood, several birches and cottonwoods that formed our playground later became overshadowed by maples in true forest succession. I watched cottonwood and birch transition into maple and beech, whose dense canopies in turn shaded out many of the wildflowers on the forest floor.
Throughout childhood, learning about the natural world—and especially all things floral—was my obsession. I became a local expert on phenology, the seasonality of nature’s events, before anyone in Elmira, New York, had even heard the word. I knew exactly when and where in the forest to find jack-in-the-pulpits, followed weeks later by yellow trout lilies and amazing varieties of violets ranging in color from pink to purple to blue to white. Spring ephemerals are those early seasonal wildflowers that bloom before the trees leaf out, while sunlight still reaches the forest floor. This clever strategy allows them to grow and reproduce before the shady conditions from the canopy above prevent adequate light for flowering. Late spring and summer flora abound in sunny fields and open meadows, but not under heavily shaded maple or beech canopy. By the age of ten, I knew the calendar of phenological events for many wildflowers in upstate New York. I kept careful diaries to track all kinds of seasonality, from plants blooming to canopies greening to birds migrating to mosquitos biting to fireflies twinkling.
My wildflower collections grew enormous. I hoarded old telephone books under my bed, deploying them as plant presses, and checked out stacks of field guides from the public library to serve as identification aids. I am not even sure what inspired me to press my collections of flowers, having never seen an herbarium until college, nor did I ever meet a real botanist who would have taught me the technical nuances of how to collect plants. Somehow, I determined that a pressed wildflower looked slightly better than a withered, dried-up carcass of stems after seeing many of my handfuls of wildflowers wilt pathetically on the kitchen table. Despite her patience toward my nature pursuits, Mom was unhappy about the mice attracted to all the pressed bits of roadside residue under the bed. She put out mousetraps with cheese, but thankfully those furry critters were well fed from the dried collections, so the traps never snapped in the middle of the night. I spent hours of most days squatting on the bedroom floor, which became my laboratory, poring over some crummy Golden Guides from the library, trying to identify specimens. When I opened the telephone-book pages after a month or so of pressing, there laid dozens of brown flat corpses. After all the effort of pressing and then waiting for the specimens to dry, it was disheartening to discover that most plants lose their color when dead. The challenges of coloration, plus a lack of any technical botany books, created extreme hurdles to identify many of the specimens.
My best reference for learning botanical jargon was a set of nature encyclopedias purchased at the grocery checkout display, which Mom kindly let me buy—one volume at a time, each for one dollar—when I helped her with shopping. I cherished all sixteen volumes, and they provided rudimentary definitions, including diagrams of pistils, stamens, and plant sex in a slightly more sophisticated fashion than the simple Golden Guides. I found it unsettling that the word “pistil,” referring to a plant’s male parts, sounded so like a deadly weapon, “pistol,” but they were so radically different. There was so much to learn! I was just a small-town nature girl who loved the outdoors yet was not savvy about most technicalities of scientific vocabulary.
When our fifth-grade teacher casually announced the next New York State Science Fair would be held in the nearby town of Cortland, I was hesitant but also determined to enter my collection. Maybe the science fair would introduce me to other kids studying nature? I drew a poster illustrating the general parts of a wildflower: petals, sepals, pistils, and the rest. It was simplistic, but I felt as close to my hero Rachel Carson as ever, having cataloged several hundred types of local botany over the past five years as a “scientific collection,” all carefully pressed and labeled in ridiculously small five-by-seven-inch photo albums. I selected four books of pressed specimens, which was about half of my homemade herbarium. Not really knowing that plants in a professional herbarium were glued on large eleven-by-seventeen-inch sheets of paper, I had purchased from the local drugstore commercial photo albums intended for baby pictures; instead they became laden with dried (and mostly brown) wildflowers and small index cards listing the name, date of collection, location, and habitat. I tried to pick the best ones, either those with a few vestiges of color or ones with really cool names (such as snakeroot, live-forever, or Indian pipe), and avoided showing the less attractive ones, such as a cattail that had virtually exploded with white seeds all over the page.
Dad, despite knowing absolutely nothing about botany beyond mowing a lawn and raking leaves, offered fatherly enthusiasm and awoke at 5:00 a.m. on the day of the science fair to drive me two hours to Cortland. I did not sleep a wink the night before, shivering in fear that someone might ask me questions about the project. Not only was my shyness magnified at the notion of such a public event, but I had never met a professional scientist. Carefully loading the albums of pressed plants plus the crayon posters into our secondhand 1953 Ford Crestline Sunliner, Dad and I set out on what felt like a great expedition. It was 1964, and he always bought gas when it was on sale, so it must have been a week of higher prices at the pump because he had neglected to fill the tank. Dad obviously did not want to worry me, so as we came over the crest of the hill into town, he said, “Hang on.” The car glided downhill on empty, careening through red lights and quiet streets in those wee hours of the morning. We were first in line when the gas station opened.
The science fair was held in a huge gymnasium at the state college, and I was assigned a small table for display. Wedged in among what seemed like 499 unruly boys, I did not see any girls but hoped a few were scattered in the crowd. I yearned to find a kindred spirit. I was astonished at the multitude of tables demonstrating a chemistry activity to replicate a volcano: pour vinegar on baking soda in the middle of a papier-mâché pyramid and, voilà, an eruption! There may have been only fifty volcanoes in the auditorium of five hundred students, but they attracted raucous cheering and bawdy attention that only emboldened their creators and was simply not part of my DNA. Had I not felt so self-conscious, it might have struck me as funny—a wildflower collection displayed by a consummate wallflower amid the chaos of vinegar volcanoes. But I was overly nervous as the only botanist (and one of few females) in the auditorium, as the judges later informed me. Nor did I see any other natural history projects throughout the entire science fair. The judges passed by in a herd, without commentary except to glance through a few pages of dried flowers and offer polite comments about the challenges of pressing plants without harming them. (I wanted to blurt out, “Of course, you dummy, if you pick a plant, it most definitely damages and ultimately kills the flower.”) Unlike most students, who came with classmates from their schools, I was the only kid from my elementary district, so not part of a gang roaming the aisles to gaze at other projects. I spent the entire day standing beside my wildflowers; even my otherwise loyal dad ran a few errands to while away the hours. After such a long day, I was anxious to pack up the display and head home to the sanctuary of my bedroom laboratory. Then, to my amazement, I was called onstage for second prize. Speechless, but feeling an unexpected sense of accomplishment, I received a small plastic trophy, and could only hope that Harriet Tubman and Rachel Carson were looking down from heaven in approval. In the eyes of my family, this award was akin to a Nobel Prize and resided on our kitchen table for months. Although it did not increase my popularity on the elementary school playground as would a sports award, it gave my parents a glimmer of hope that their daughter’s unusual love of nature might yet reap rewards.
After conquering roadside botany at the fifth-grade science fair, I stumbled by accident into an ornithology project a few years later. While cleaning our grandparents’ attic, I found two dusty old wooden cases of birds’ eggs collected by a nineteenth-century ancestor. (Maybe a family nature lover whom no one had ever talked about?) These exquisite ovals were swirled with blue, gray, white, and cinnamon by Mother Nature’s paintbrush. But the labels had disintegrated, victims of book lice. My grandmother was a formidable English professor and impeccable housekeeper, and doubtless considered these eggs a disgusting mess. So she allowed me to haul the treasures home to my bedroom-floor laboratory to attempt to identify them. Taking another big trip to the library, I exchanged botany field guides for bird books. It was relatively easy to find volumes that illustrated the birds themselves, but much tougher to sleuth out egg descriptions. I soon learned coloration was a critical part of classification, along with shape and exact size. No ordinary ruler would suffice; bird eggs needed more sophisticated instrumentation. A few of the library books mentioned specialized calipers to measure eggshell thickness and dimensions. I courageously wrote a biological supply company whose ad I saw in an Audubon magazine and requested a catalog. I had a small allowance from my household chores and persuaded my mom to write a check for this mail order if I repaid her from my piggy bank. For only $13.95, I soon owned a set of calipers, and spent hundreds of hours measuring the egg dimensions of the wood thrush, Baltimore oriole, robin, goldfinch, killdeer, and more.
Bird egg identification was trickier than botany, almost impossible with rudimentary field guides. The descriptions in generic bird books were usually limited to “medium-sized, blue” or “solitary white egg.” I dug deeper into the ornithological literature and pulled out dusty volumes at the public library by John Burroughs, John James Audubon, and other nineteenth-century naturalists. Eventually, I taught myself a new vocabulary: metric (not inches); patterns such as streaked, spotted, splotched, or speckled; and how to differentiate between cinnamon, hazel, chestnut, and brown. I didn’t have an approachable science teacher, or even one friend at school who shared a similar passion for birds, so this was a lonely pursuit. At the time, out of about one hundred members of our local Audubon Society, I was almost the only one under the age of seventy and could not envision any of them squatting on the floor to gaze at bird eggs. My parents had given me an Audubon membership as a birthday gift, and I eagerly attended all their nature films shown in a local auditorium. The senior birders sometimes kindly invited me on a Saturday outing. They more or less adopted me, explaining how to estimate bird counts of a migratory flock and identify confusing fall warblers, one of the biggest challenges for any amateur bird lover. Although a neophyte, I was truly captivated by birdwatching, but too tongue-tied to tell them about my egg collection.
Occasionally, Mom would drive me to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology to walk the trails and watch birds. Just an hour away from home, the lab included a public display with bird sounds piped from a pond into a room with a big window. It was a thrilling sensation to hear the Canada geese’s honks or the mallard ducks’ squawks or the spring songs of returning migrants. On two occasions, I also stood shyly for at least an hour in the hallway outside the scientists’ offices, hoping someone might talk to a small girl holding a Tupperware container of bird eggs. No one ever did, despite those hopeful attempts. Both times, I brought a few problem eggs, hoping to meet an expert who would quickly resolve their correct identification. It would have been beyond wonderful to talk to a bird scientist. Recalling that enormous disappointment when no one took notice, I now respond to every kid who contacts me, without exception.
At some point, I became stumped by a large white egg. Almost a year later, I returned to the mystery of that plain white egg once again. I compared it against all the photo guides, measured and remeasured its length and width, and puzzled for weeks. It was larger than warbler or thrush eggs, and it also lacked any unique coloration. Then one Saturday, while scrambling eggs for breakfast, I had a eureka moment and realized the answer had been in front of me all along! I grabbed an eggshell from our kitchen and ran upstairs. Wow! It was almost identical to the mystery egg. I had spent a year imagining this was the egg of a great auk or a whooping crane, yet it turned out to be an ordinary chicken’s. Having just reread Silent Spring by my hero Rachel Carson, who explained pesticides were killing songbirds, I was inspired to design a remarkably simple science project. During the twentieth century, Carson discovered that birds (even chickens) ingested pesticides, and the toxicity resulted in eggs with thinner shells that never hatched. My dusty old eggs had been collected in the mid-1800s, making them approximately one hundred years old. I took several eggs from Mom’s refrigerator, dated 1970, and measured their thickness with the calipers. Then I delicately cracked the ancestral egg in half, calculated the shell thickness, and compared it to the modern eggs. The hundred-year-old eggshell was 0.019 inches thick, while a recent eggshell averaged 0.011 inches thick. (My calipers used good old-fashioned inches, not centimeters.) I later learned about statistics, and how scientific research with only one replicate is not very robust, but at the time it seemed like a breakthrough. I housed this mini research project comparing eggshells one hundred years apart in a modest cigar box with handwritten labels summarizing its findings, and it continues to merit a place of pride on my library shelf, reminding me about the thrill of scientific discovery.
By junior high school, my three-musketeer girlfriends had substituted boys for tree forts. But my passion for nature grew, and I eagerly spent weekends birdwatching in the local parks on Saturday. As an obsessive list-maker, I recorded all sightings: evening grosbeaks were a highlight, as were woodpeckers with their incessant drumming on all the different dead trees. Growing up in small-town America was a mixed blessing. We knew the soda jerk. We walked to school, played outside, shoveled snow, picked blackberries in fields, and caught fireflies. But the public school had its share of bullies and substance abuse, so finding friends with nerdy interests like birdwatching was difficult. I was so determined to find a friend who liked nature that I wrote to Duryea Morton, a prominent leader of the National Audubon Society whose name I found in the magazine. I explained to him I was a birdwatcher, and did he have any advice to find kids who shared my passion? Miraculously, Morton wrote back from his lofty office in New York City and offered a solution. He suggested attending a summer camp in West Virginia run by an ornithologist friend of his named John Trott. It was the only nature camp for youth in all of America at the time, and he thought I just might find some fellow bird lovers among the campers. Although my parents were not keen on driving me as far away as West Virginia, and camp tuition was quite a financial stretch, they reluctantly signed me up the following summer for Burgundy Wildlife Camp, fervently hoping I would no longer be relegated to Elmira’s seventy-plus-aged birders for social activity. After an all-day drive from Elmira, New York, to Capon Bridge, West Virginia, the final dirt road into camp curved around a still, with a colorful crowd of locals enjoying the moonshine of their labor! We forded a stream to cross into camp property, and it was a miracle Dad didn’t turn around. The camp was rustic and gloriously situated in the middle of the woods—a creek for catching aquatic critters, canopies bursting with songbirds, miles of hiking trails, nets set up for bird banding, a fireplace surrounded by screened porches with all sorts of wildlife-collecting gadgetry, and, best of all, nineteen other kids who loved nature.
During two life-changing weeks of camp, I found friends who paid attention to ants, rocks, wildflowers, salamanders, mosses, and, yes, birds! It was truly heaven on earth, and the directors, John and Lee Trott, became lifelong mentors for me and many other campers. I was assigned a top bunk in the girls’ dormitory, a simple open-air construction composed of screens and rough-hewn logs that accommodated a dozen girls. The first night, I felt a whooshing just inches above my face and huddled under the blankets in fear, wondering what was attacking me. The next day, when I mentioned this assailant, the camp counselor explained that a bat lived in the rafters just over my bunk, and how fortunate for me because it would eat all the mosquitos. Her explanation alleviated my panic, but just a little. All day long, I quietly digested her statement and ultimately became convinced a resident bat was indeed an exceptional roommate.
Wildlife camp changed my views of the natural world in many ways, not just about bats. I held a live goldfinch in the bird-banding tent, an extraordinary spiritual experience for a bird lover like me. I learned the constellations under a night sky in the wilds of West Virginia with total absence of artificial lights. We swam in a muddy pond as our only sporting activity, and when I found a pollywog flattened under my bathing suit, the camp director congratulated me for attracting one of the water’s precious bits of biodiversity. I was still shy and worked extra hard to pull the bedsheets perfectly smooth so as not to be called upon during daily inspection, when the dormitories were checked for neatness. I desperately wanted acceptance into this nature gang. At camp, all kids were considered naturalists regardless of background or gender, so I developed close ties with boys (as well as girls) for the first time in my life. Most became lifelong friends, many became natural science professionals, and we continue to go birding or botanizing in our adulthood.
Every camper undertook a research project, so I decided to identify the mosses of a West Virginia forest. Having tackled wildflowers and trees in upstate New York, I was ready for the challenges of nonflowering plants. And I also wanted an excuse to use the amazing camp microscope that was required to identify mosses. Harriet Tubman had mastered the mosses of the forest to navigate the Underground Railroad, and I was determined to walk in her footsteps as the camp bryologist, aka moss expert. My enthusiasm was so great for these smaller bits of fuzzy green stuff that after I’d created a detailed moss collection, the Trotts asked me to return the following summer as a staff member. A thirteen-year-old joining the staff? I was humbled. The directors fervently believed “children educating children” was the most effective model for learning, and they hired teenagers to teach the campers. The paycheck for that first summer job was a whopping $25, but I felt very wealthy. I could earn the same amount after one long night of babysitting back in Elmira, but camp paid me in other indirect ways. Thanks to one bold letter sent to the National Audubon Society, I now had a cadre of friends who loved to talk about bird migration and tree identification, plus I learned some skills for teaching younger students about the natural world.
Copyright © 2021 by Margaret Lowman
Tree illustrations copyright © 2021 by Na Kim