Friday, May 11, 2007

Bears and Wolfs and Webelos OH MY!

For several years I volunteered as a Cubmaster for our local Cub Scout pack. One of the coolest things I learned about was ARLIS (Alaska Resource Library & Information Services). ARLIS is a library that specializes in Alaska climate, mineral rights, fish counts, or other natural information. This means most people stay clear of it, but the library also carries educational kits. It has a huge collection of animal skills, bones, and mounts. All of which can be checked out by anyone with a library card. The librarians at ARLIS are also the most helpful I’ve met, probably because they are happy someone uses their facilities. They often would help me carry items out to my car and give me free parking passes.

Why did I care as a Cubmaster? Well, in Cub Scouts ranks are based on animals; bobcat, wolf, bear, and webelo. Ok, the webelo rank isn’t an animal, but I will get to that later. So in our pack when boys advanced rank I would check out the appropriate animal fur for their rank. A bobcat pelt for the bobcat rank. A bear skin for the bear rank. For webelos we settled on a beaver skull and pelt. It would have been a muskox skull except it was checked out the first time. The boys looked forward to each pack meeting just so they could play with them.

Another time, we had a bird themed pack meeting. So I got four different full bird mounts; teal, snowy owl, merganser, and a ptarmigan. We had a game where the kids had to identify each bird. The snowy owl was the favorite thanks to Harry Potter.

My kids loved them too. Well, most of the time. The first time I went to ARLIS, I decided to surprise my kids. So when I got that home that night, I draped the wolf skin over me. It practically covered me. Then I snuck into the play room. The kids didn’t see me until I started growling. Surprisingly, two year old Ben saw right through it and laughed. It was our four year old Gwenna that started screaming. She was not happy with me after that.

My kids liked it when I went to ARLIS because we got to keep the skins or birds for several weeks at home. ARLIS makes it possible for anyone to bring home a museum.

1 comment:

scribbit said...

He looks like one of the lost boys in the Peter Pan cartoon. :)