Vol 26 No 3 (2010): Ecosophical Education
Narratives and Stories

Tarantulas in the Freezer (and other ethical dilemmas)

Kathleen Ruth Kesson
Long Island University
Bio
Published June 14, 2010

Abstract

In the summer of 1983, the author purchased a twenty-acre plot of land in Paradise Township, an historic Oklahoma settlement nestled between the Tallgrass Prairie and the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Lacking adequate educational options for their four young boys, the family commenced on a five-year experiment in “unschooling.” This chapter from a forthcoming memoir chronicles her journey from Romantic notions of “being one with nature,” to co-existing with “the real deal, in all its teeming, hairy, ugly, creepy, crawly, slithering, slimy, swarming, buzzing, biting, sucking, stinging glory.” The article makes the argument that contemporary children need to be immersed in observations of and experiences with all sorts of creatures, even those that are “downright hostile to humans and ugly to boot,” if they are to develop a deep understanding of the natural world.