I caught Owen talking to a tree last week. At least that’s what it looked like he was doing when I turned around to see what was distracting him as we made our way home from the park. He was standing in front of an oak motioning with his hands and gabbing away, and there wasn’t another person anywhere nearby. I’m all for encouraging imaginative play and decided to go with it, so I walked over and casually asked who he was talking to. Without looking up, he just pointed and said matter-of-factly, “Ants.” Then I realized he wasn’t actually talking to the ants, but about them. Professor Owen was giving his own little entomology lecture about the tiny insects—how they work together to build colonies and eat leaves and carry tiny pieces of leaves and grass to make homes and all kinds of other facts about ants. Yep, the boy loves bugs. He’s got all kinds of insect toys and books, he’s always front and center at the tarantula feedings at the Natural History Museum, he can spend hours poking around the yard looking for bugs if we let him. I’m not sure how this all comes off to the outside world, but he’s my kid, so naturally I find his creepy crawly obsession—tree lecture quirk included—wildy endearing.
If you’ve got a bug-obsessed, nature-loving kid, too, then check out this event: Dr. Bugs is coming to National Geographic’s Grosvenor Audtiorium this Saturday, May 15. Mark Moffett, as he’s otherwise known, is a photographer, naturalist, and author of the children’s book “Face to Face with Frogs” (as well as the grown-up book “Adventures Among Ants.”) His wacky sense of humor and love for small wonders of nature make him a hit with kids and adults alike as he entertains with cool stories, amazing imagery, and an all-around fun show.