Hi fellow eagle lovers!
When Talon first came up with the idea of all the mods doing a guest blog I have to admit I was a little nervous since I am a new mod and don’t have as much knowledge about eagles as my fellow mods do. When I read all the blogs that came before mine and saw how amazing they all were I went from being nervous to terrified! I hope my entry lives up to the high standards they have set.
I have always loved nature and animals. Even as a little girl I remember going for walks with my family in a nearby nature preserve and marveling at the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. The wonder I felt when I saw a deer standing a ways away in the forest at dusk and watching, in the blink of an eye, as it bounded away. How soothing it felt to close my eyes and listen to the birds sing and the leaves rustle. How fun it was to feel the leaves crunch under my feet as I walked along the trails. Each season was beautiful in its own way…from the flowers blooming in spring, to the trees changing color in the fall, to the snow that blanketed the earth in the winter, and finally the beautiful lush greens of summer.
When I became a teacher I wanted to pass along the love and respect of nature that my family taught me to my students. Since I have mostly taught grades K-2 there is always an animal unit for science. Until I discovered the amazing world of eagle cams, this was taught using different non fiction books, beanie babies, real objects like rocks and leaves and field trips to the local nature preserve.
When I decided to leave 1st grade and start teaching special education 5 years ago, I thought my days of teaching how to respect and love nature and animals was over since I wouldn’t be teaching science units anymore. I could not have been more wrong.
Last year, I worked with a high functioning autistic boy who had meltdowns when he got frustrated. He would come down to my room to calm down. I had a variety of things in my room to help all my students when they needed to calm down such as a small trampoline they could jump on, stability balls they could sit or lay on, and MP3 players with relaxing nature music that they could listen to. He loved the MP3 players the best!
One day this student had a meltdown while I was in my room eating lunch and watching this eagle cam. It was just after Harmon had been returned to the nest. When he had calmed down, he looked at my computer, pointed at it, and asked, “What’s that?” I looked over and saw that in the time it took to get him calmed down, I had forgotten to shut off the cam. I explained to him that it was an eagle and told him about Harmon’s story. Immediately he was hooked! I read him books about eagles and we watched the cam as well as videos of eagles soaring in the sky and catching fish. He would point at the screen and tug on my shirt whenever Harmon acted up! I got extra hard tugs when Harmon wingersized! We made a plan so he could come in at the same time every day or when he felt himself getting frustrated so he could check on Harmon and watch eagle videos.
One day he had just gotten done watching a video of an eagle flying and was watching Harmon and he said to me, “Eagles teach me.” I smiled at him and asked him what the eagles had taught him. His response? “To be calm.”
At that moment I realized that he had taught me much more than I had taught him. He had taught me a very valuable lesson that I think as adults we tend to forget in the craziness of life. Eagles are calming. Whenever I am stressed out, frustrated, or upset, all I have to do to calm down is watch the eagles.
I think about that student whenever I see an eagle soaring in the sky or when I am watching the cam and I try to remember his words. When I am stressed out, I try to stop what I’m doing, take a deep breath, and either watch the eagles or picture them in my mind soaring high in the sky. I hope that he is able to watch the nest this year and see our new angels, Peace and Harmony, grow into amazing eagles. I hope he is aware of their names and how they relate to the word calm. Because of these magnificent, majestic birds a whole new, calm world was opened up to a little boy who was smart enough to realize eagles for what they truly are – a wonderous, miraculous gift that truly have the power to calm and soothe.