A great poem, reproduced with the author’s permission.


On Being A Naturalist

By David J. Hawke


They came here today on a big yellow bus,

Another class of students that were booked in with us.

I had tidied displays and made things just right,

They were just off the bus when two started to fight.


As they came up the walkway I suddenly felt sick…

Instead of 21 students…they had brought 46!

Well, I got them inside and had them sit down

(And I think I did well not to show them my frown.)


As we looked at great pics that appeared from a slide

The boy in the back row poked a girl in the side.

Tho’ I thought that I’d taught them with style and with flair

They still can’t tell the difference ’tween a rabbit and hare.


After our talk we went on a short hike

And were told great long stories by a loud-mouth named Mike.

They were cautioned to be quiet as we approached the bird feeder,

When a kid at the back yelled, “HEY, I wanna be leader!”


We studied fresh tracks, learned which way did they go,

While several in the group talked about some new TV show.

As I tried to point out the wonders of snow.

The boys with crossed legs asked, “Where can I go?”


As we walked on in silence there was a tug at my sleeve,

Retrieving my thoughts from “When would they leave?”

The kid in the red coat removed all my strife

When he quietly said,“Know what, Mister? This has been the best day of my life.”


David J. Hawke is the Stewardship Program Manager for the Couchiching Conservancy land

trust. He is an award-winning outdoor writer, nature photographer and naturalist.