The last time we stayed at this park Miranda (aka Storybird in her younger traveling years) became enamored of the cactus life in the Sonoran Desert - to the point where she bought her own identification guide and eventually asked “Can I be a cactus expert”?
Since we began camp-hosting here she began building relationships with both the on-staff Interpretative Ranger and the other camp-hosts and attending just about every program they lead. Some days she will get up on her own, get herself showered and breakfasted, pack a backpack with a snack and water bottle, and be off on her bike to make it to a program over a mile away at the other end of the park. After her bike ride down she’ll walk up to a couple of miles on the talk, then bike back home - which is pretty much up hill all the way back.
Seeing her enthusiasm for the area, the other camp-hosts invited her to choose one of the local cactus featured on the talk, and then provide the information on that to the other visitors to the park.
They introduce her as the “Intern”. She took on the challenge, does the research, prepares herself to present, and speaks in public to people she does not know. She’s done this a few times - enough now that she was comfortable if I showed up with the camera to document her in action.
As a parent it’s quite rewarding to see your child find an interest, strive to learn more about it, and in a self-directed fashion become involved in educating others about it - all with little to no involvement on our part.
This is one of those keystone moments that confirms the value of our choice to take life on the road, and an opportunity that she would certainly have never found if we had stayed back home in our comfortable suburban life.
We are very grateful for Mark and Lynn - the other camp-hosts who saw Miranda’s interest and adapted their presentations to allow Miranda to be part of them. Thanks so much guys - you’ve quite literally helped Miranda to accomplish her dream of becoming a Cactus Expert.
Miranda and Harrison captured her expertise in a Sonoran Desert 101 video.