Volunteer reptile care for N.J. Audubon was my idea--and a naturalist's--for my son. The notion coincided. If you've read earlier posts, you may know that Matt has been interested in and endeavoring with reptiles and amphibians from the age of four. Sigmund Freud famously wrote that children live in the unconscious of their parents. When I was a boy, I went into the local wilds alone and actually collected reptiles, amphibians, fish, and a variety of anthropods. Today in New Jersey, it's illegal to collect reptiles and amphibians. My son and I are on the side of the law. Our field trips involve observation and photography. But in 1970, I had at least 20 terrariums and aquariums in my parents' basement. Intensely interested in zoology and reading constantly at the age of nine--Aristotle most significantly--I aspired to study animals in captivity, as I phrased my idea, and attempted to produce a complex methodology of study. At that young age I did learn that I was not ready for that level of abstraction and procedure.
Originally, Matt spent time with the naturalist and the reptiles while I hiked the sanctuary or read as I waited. But for the past three years or so, Matt and I have been a team, taking weekend escapes for a half hour, sometimes an hour. This time has at least the value of all the week in between. Sometimes I go alone and it's just the same. Matt's busy with many activities in his teens now.