Moseying: Outdoor Recreation Activities
Senior citizens are valued visitors to the Sibley Nature Trail
June 23, 2010
"I love the conversations that develop as we look closely as we explore the Sibley Nature Center," a participant in our Friday morning senior citizen walks told us. " I love hearing the stories of how some of you old timers lived when you grew up in West Texas in the 1930s and 1940s, or when you moved here in the boom times of the oil industry," I replied. Conversation is part of the art of living -- sharing stories, learning new perspectives and knowledge -- we senior citizens know what good bench sitting is all about!
There are thousands of senior citizens in Midland, and every one of them should come to Sibley on Friday mornings! If you like what you hear, you can give us a donation, or become a member! We have given dozens of talks to retiree groups, so everyone that attended our programs should come along and learn more! Folks from assisted living centers are welcome to come along -- so the activity directors should just call us and tell us how many folks are coming. (We have a 6 passenger cart for folks that cannot walk distances, and our trails are surfaced so "scooters" work fine.)
One lady told us she plans on coming every Friday. "It is still cool enough at that time of morning and the pace is slow and casual. The information shared with the audience is fascinating! Toads that don't come out of the ground for two years, millipedes living with ants, broomweed causing bloat in cattle, the changing landscape from wet year to dry year, the hairy leaves that prevent water loss, old cowboy stories, stories about the Comanches and Jumanos, the stories about the Ciboleros... I am always surprised by the topics that we talk about!"
"I always was nervous about walking into what I thought was an ugly landscape full of thorns and dangerous snakes and animals. I lived here for 35 years and learned more about my home in one morning than I learned in all those years! This is fun -- a lot more entertaining than a morning television show. " The Sibley staff loves the Friday morning senior citizens walks, too! Senior citizens, thanks to their life experiences ,incorporate what they learn into a much more complex and comprehensive context than children. Teaching children is great fun because the teacher can see "the light go off" as they discover something new and never before experienced. When the light goes off for a senior citizen, it is because a deeper understanding is reached.
Senior citizens are also interested in how we choose the subjects to talk about, and our techniques in teaching people. Senior citizens also know to examine and naturally interpret the photographs and paintings on display, and often have stories of their interactions with some of the animals that see in our collection of taxidermy mounts. Several times, senior citizens have sat down in our library and looked through some of the books.
If the senior citizen is computer literate, we will sit down and give a quick tour of our website, if they have not utilized it. (A person can continue (for years) their learning at home, thanks to the hundreds of essays and thousands of photos with text in the habitats section's photoessays.) Some of the senior citizens bring their cameras along to take photos of some of the plants and animals to help cement their memory retention. We will also show folks our Facebook page, too! (We post photos every day.)
The senior citizens that come on one of the hikes also love to return (on other days) when the grandkids come to visit -- "This is the best place to learn all about West Texas," they tell the youngsters, after they introduce them to us. We sometimes hear things like, "Remember, I told you about horny toads shooting blood from near their eyes, and you wouldn't believe me....well, they have a photo of it!" Another great activity for seniors with grandkids is to make a small collection of animals and plants from around the house and bring them out try to stump us on their identification. We love to see weird bugs! The grandkids also love the scavenger hunt brochure -- if they can find half of the animals and plants drawn, the kids get a prize!
We love senior citizens at the Sibley Nature Center! Come on out!