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On Saturday morning, I took Dylan and Summer to pick up trash at our local nature center. With all the craziness going on in the world right now (earthquakes, tsunamis, dictators trying to kill their own people), it felt good to get out and do something.  Even if that something is just cleaning up a nature preserve.

6-year-old Dylan embraced the job immediately…

But 4-year-old Summer saw herself less as a “worker” and more as a “supervisor.” She would point out the trash so the rest of us could pick it up.

We found all kinds of things from plastic water bottles (people know these can be recycled, right?) to candy wrappers to bags of beer cans.

The beer cans were clearly the aftermath of a spirited teenage weekend. I know I should have been disgusted that our youth would just throw all their party trash into the woods but I was actually jealous that my days of heaving empty beer cans out my car window are long over. And I also can’t believe nobody drinks wine coolers anymore. So delightfully fruity and delicious.  The Bieberberry wine cooler will make a debut. It’s only a matter of time.

As we trekked through the woods, I was a little nervous that we might stumble upon a body which may be the result of living too many years in New York City. But we found nothing all that interesting until I heard Dylan say…

“This is COOL.”

“What?” I said as I turned around.

“This dinosaur bone.”

And there in my daughter’s hand was some kind of animal skull.

“Wow. That is something.” I said. “Throw it on into the garbage bag!”

“No, I want to keep it,”she replied.

“Umm… I’m not sure honey. It might belong to the nature center. Let’s check with the girl in charge here.” That girl turned out to be Chrissy who said they would clean the skull for us and then we were welcome to bring it home. Fabulous!

So on my to-do list this week is…. Pick Up Animal Skull.

Dylan wants to keep it in her room.

And because I actually want to sleep again, I’m insisting that we keep it outside.

So if you’re bummed out about all the bad stuff going on in the world, I might suggest you just make a donation from the skull-less comfort of your own home.

P.S. Tutus are not required for nature center clean-up. But my girls insist on wearing pajamas all weekend so I make them put on a skirt or tutu so it’s more of an outfit.

22 Responses to volunteer work is not for pansies

kelcey kintner