Legacy

May 20,2011
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

Yesterday I spent the whole day at the zoo, chaperoning the 1st grade field trip. Needless to say, by the time T. and I got home, at 5:30 that evening, I wasn't good for much else--especially not for stringing together coherent sentences for a post.

We saw so many beautiful, and majestic animals while we were at the zoo.

I also overheard people making many ignorant comments and jokes about the animals, who were helpless to protect their own dignity. I hate that part about zoos. I hate that some parents bring their children there and then laugh and, even, ridicule the animals in front of their children. 

Can you spot the giraffe?

I have mixed feelings about zoos in general. I like the idea of creating mini-habitats for endangered animals so that we can protect them in ways they can't be protected in the wild. We need to educate people about these animals, who might live in faraway, beautiful and endangered places. People argue that zoos are important, because they teach people about how animals live. I'm not convinced, though, that a whole lot of educating goes on at zoos. I'm not sure how many people actually stop to read about the animals, or to visit the hands-on activities stations scattered throughout your typical zoo, or to place the animal behavior they witness in the proper context for their kids. I hope they do. 

After all, our children will grow up to be the keepers of our earth, and everything on it.