2010 Crossroads Event, Galax, Virginia

Click HERE for our 2010 Crossroads event Art Gallery!

Thank you for sharing your art! Sharing the wonders of nature with others is a great way to spread knowledge and awareness.

April 22, 2010
-A summary of the Crossroads event-

After a successful morning guiding kids at the Dunson Farm, Devin and Scott returned to the western side of Grayson County to perfect their terrariums, snack and further prepare for the evening event at the Crossroads Institute in Galax. Leading up to both the farm outing and the evening demonstration, Devin had brought ID card booklets that Shannon and family had assembled, display towers that Brent constructed, and tools for exploring and drawing. As well, he managed to catch three spring peepers the night before at his parents' pond. During that previous day Scott spent nearly all of it on his knees, rooting around in the woods and streams for snakes and salamanders, turning over rocks, logs, peaking into spring heads, and lifting up sheets of old tin...the result of which were two black rat snakes, one black racer, one ring-necked snake, three slimy, one spring, one dusky and one not-so-sure-about salamanders.

White-spotted Slimy Salamander, Plethodon cylindraceus

Made evident at the Dunsons' was how powerful a draw are live critters. That evidence was repeated indoors that evening. Joining Devin and Scott was Allen Boynton in tow with both box and painted turtles. We set up in a designated room, lining up the tanks with critters...including tadpoles, one spotted sunfish, and dragonfly and damselfly nymphs gleaned from the Dunson ponds.

Given that it was a school night, and that we were the only kid-oriented thing going on, we had no idea if any kids would be on hand. Perished was that thought, as we began to see a steady stream of young folks show up, usually with a parent, and all the interest one could handle. Devin managed one end of our presentation with attention to both critters and kid driven artistic documentation of what they were seeing. Following through, he captured the sketches with camera (see the Gallery). On the other end, Allen and Scott managed critter preservation while allowing the kids to catch the aquatic beasts over and over again, including heavy turtle attention.

Most of the younger crowd was between the ages of 3 and 10. However, it is important to mention that people of all ages took more interest as the word got out. We heard some tall tales from those who have had a variety of (snake) experiences, and kept open the door to the full range of interests shown. The set-up lasted for three hours, and just guessing, BRDC hosted at the least 25 kids and 15 adults. What was especially telling were the repeat 'customers'...those that would go but could not stay away. One boy spent most of his time with the box turtle. One girl kept dragging her mother back from other ongoing activities, to return to the aquatic tank. Her fascination with what the murky waters held defined her mother's schedule.

BRDC thanks Felicia Hash, who wears many hats for the Grayson County office, and Kathy Cole, whose work with the Crossroads intersects that of Felicia's. If it had not been for the two of them, we would have not had this great opportunity.