Save the Animals

Just like many publicly funded programs, the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center in Shelby Township is being asked to cut costs. Township leadership says the animals must go to save money; unless the animals are adopted.

Snakes, turtles, spiders, frogs, cockroaches and other species need animal-lovers to give money for their care to stay housed at the Shadbush Nature Center. Adoption costs range and depend upon the animal and the level of care needed to support its health.

In February, my family adopted Slim, a ball python, for our daughter, Issa. She is very interested in learning about snakes. We thought this was the ideal way to encourage further exploration. Slim continues to live at the nature center. Issa can visit any time. During her visits, Issa holds Slim and learns to care for him.

Slim, the ball python, adopted for Issa. This picture was taken in March 2012. He has grown considerably and is a very people-friendly python. Photo Credit: Tina Richmond

The Shadbush Nature Center offers ongoing, low-cost, hands-on educational programs for people of all ages throughout the year. Young people benefit especially from the summer camps, evening nature talks and opportunities to see/handle animals in a safe environment. Without the animals, the nature center would be at a loss to continue what is does so well for our community.

To learn more about adopting an animal at the Shadbush Nature center, call 586-323-2478.

A Seemingly Harmless Flirtation: Angry Bird

Angry Birds
Image via Wikipedia

It all started before 2011 came to an end. I was basking in some much needed downtime after dinner. As I read through the front-page headlines at Huffington Post, cheers, giggles and snorts from the other room penetrated my thoughts. Once again, Riff and his dad were captivated with the silly, obnoxious Angry Bird scenes playing out on my husband’s Droid.

Disgusted with reading — for the 364th day — about gridlock in D.C., GOP primary speculations, and tabloid fodder, I succumbed to the temptation to check out Angry Bird. It was just a harmless flirtation with a pop culture segment that I define as a plague on human productivity and time management.

I told myself one peek would not plunge me into an abyss of addiction. Looking was not cheating on my responsibilities as parent, wife, writer or friend.

But then, a quick look turned into a wink and a smile. Before I knew what happened … a link developed. Those comedic angry birds must have known about my preference for a good sense of humor and pretty feathers.

I took the flirtation a step further and clicked on the “play” link. Again, I told myself, one game wasn’t a step toward a demise of my professional ambitions or attentive parenting skills. It was just one game.

Let it be said. The decision to “play” is not one that would make my list of Top 10 Brilliant Moves. One click lead to a second, third, fourth, tenth and a … I quit keeping track.

Perhaps it was the feeling of instant gratification. Pigs exploded all over the screen. Each dead pig earned me 5,000 points. Plus, there were bonus points for destroying walls, taking out boxes of TNT, and pulverizing watermelon. Good, life-saving deeds were rewarded generously as well. I earned 10,000 points for each bird saved from sudden death as a suicide-bomber.

Whatever these angry birds have that my husband, children, family, friends and writing do not is beyond my comprehension. But, a wink and smile has now turned into a toxic love affair. My daily desire to free my pretty-feathered friends from a world of snarky pigs is constantly nudging at my resolve to make dinner each night, share my desktop with my children, write blog posts, and pay attention to my husband.