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Art&Seek Jr: Little Things, Big Picture
by Therese Powell 4 Sep 2012

Enjoy the smaller (and more flutterly) things in life this weekend with a little butterfly and bird watching.

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Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

My mother was a world-class observer.  Not just the usual mom things, like being able to tell you hadn’t brushed your teeth from two rooms away or sensing a bad day at school even though you’d told her otherwise, but the ability to really see and appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of her surroundings.

She routinely noticed and pointed out things the rest of us either missed or thought too trivial for a second glance. I remember a family trip to the north woods of Minnesota. It was late in a long day driving and we were were all tried, crabby and anxious to get to our destination and as luck would have it, the final leg of our trip required us to take a badly maintained, bumpy, unpaved road to our lake house. As my father inched the car along dodging the muddy pot-holes, a grouse casually stepped out in front of our car and decided to take a stroll. Grouse–sometimes known as Prairie Chickens–are EVERYWHERE in Northern Minnesota and it wasn’t particularly noteworthy to any us. Just another chicken trying to cross the road. We kids barely looked up from our comic books and my annoyed father was probably thinking that if the kids weren’t in the car he’d just run down the silly bird. It was my mother who noticed the eight tiny chicks waiting in the tall brush on the side of the road. As the babies scurried across in front of our stopped car, my mother told us to take a good look because by the time we had kids of our own we probably wouldn’t see things like this anymore. I’m sure we went, “yeah, yeah, yeah” and rolled our eyes, but you know, I don’t think I’ve seen a grouse since that day. We certainly didn’t appreciate it at the time, but mom taught us that when you take the time to notice the little things you’ll see a bigger, more beautiful picture.

Get up close and personal with a butterfly

Here are a couple of events going on this weekend that will help you and the kids see the “little things, big picture.”

The Northeast Tarrant County Kiwanis are holding their 9th Annual Butterfly Festival underneath a 600 square foot covered pavilion at Southlake Town Square. Kids can interact and feed the butterflies or just enjoy a walk through the tent with hundreds of the little critters fluttering about. Butterfly experts will also be on hand to answer any questions. The weekend event culminates with the release of the butterflies at 5 p.m. Sunday.

If you’ve got older kids (10 and up) and you want to really hone those observation skills try a little bird watching at  Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (or LLELA for short). They’ll be holding their first Bird Walk of the fall where you can try to spot some of the over 270 species of birds that have been recorded in the LLELA’s forests, prairies, and marshes.  The event starts at 7:30 a.m. so you’ll have to be an early bird. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.) But this is great opportunity to join LLELA’s master birders as they guide you to the best birding locations not normally available to the public. It’s probably a little far south, but who knows, you might even spot a grouse.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 7-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected]

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