Saturday, March 5, 2016

Save the Caterpillar!

Every Shabbat, assuming the weather allows, Raphaela and I walk to the Gazelle Valley Nature Preserve;  we bring a picnic and hike along the trails, and enjoy the fact that the gazelle have become much less shy since the park opened, the 12 of them can be seen up close and with the naked eye.

This afternoon on the way to the Nature Preserve, we spotted a fuzzy caterpillar on the sidewalk, it seemed to be in distress.  We attempted to move it to the side so it would not get trampled, but the encounter left Raphaela quite disturbed.

For the rest of the way until the park, Raphaela got all fired up, and laid out her plans to create an international consortium to save this caterpillar.  "We need to tell EVERYONE  we see that they must be careful and not step on the caterpillar.  We need to recruit at least 200 people to join our crusade to save the caterpillar.  We need to increase awareness of nature and keep the insects safe from bicycles and pedestrians and strollers and dogs."

She caught her breath for a moment and then said, "And when our friends from Holland organize themselves, they will have to come over to Israel and help us.  We may just have to take the caterpillar to the vet."

Sure enough, once we got to the Gazelle Valley, Raphaela literally stopped every single visitor to the park (it was very crowded today), put on her serious face and instructed, "On your way home today, please be very careful.  My mother and I saw a wounded caterpillar."

I didn't even attempt to temper her enthusiasm for this project.

Most of the adults nodded their head and acknowledged Raphaela, a few said that perhaps the snails should be included in her efforts.  This past week we had one day of rain and the snails came out in full force, and several days after there are squashed snail shells everywhere.

On the way home, Raphaela and I passed by the spot where we had seen the injured creature, there were signs of a sad (and yet anticipated) end.  My daughter said to me, "We don't know exactly what happened to our friend, but I know we did the right thing by raising awareness."

(Six years old...)

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