My daughter Madeline is a year-and-a-half old. She has very little to say, but points like she’s being paid to do it. With these points, she knows birds, fish, elk, deer, and especially cats. When she was less than a year old, we bought a world map that has all of these animals listed by where they can be found in the world. So it’s not uncommon for us to sit before this map nowadays and ask her, “Maddie, where’s a gorilla?” Or a turtle, or a shark, or a pronghorn, or any other of the animals found on her map.
She loves the zoo, as seen below with her feeding birds. And she’s never met a real, or fake dog, that she doesn’t like. Even her sandhill crane stuffed animal is held in high regard. She likes its long neck, much like us adults do when we look at cranes.
While I’ve never been a parent before, and spent little time around little ones before my own, I can’t help but think that she’ll grow up with an appreciation of animals the more she’s around them. I’m often asked “Will she hunt like you do?” to which I respond, “If she wants to.” “Will she photograph animals like you do?” to which I respond, “If she wants to.” The one thing, however, that she will not have a choice about is respecting those creatures that also occupy this Earth with her, human or otherwise.
And personally I think she’s off to a very nice start.