Just finished reading "Teaching Outside the Box" (Tumbleweeds, July). In fact, I read it twice, trying the get some specific idea as to what the Aldo Leopold High School's curriculum was. The best I could come up to was: "nontraditional approach. . .,"emphasize the environment. . .," "free thinkers. . .," "natural resources. . .," "renegade operation. . ." and "flexible scheduling." I certainly have no intention of reading the "841-page masterpiece" curriculum.
Now, I may be behind the times, but it seems to me that if you give high-school students "flexibility," "free thinking" and the like, some may thrive on this, but many will take the easy way out of what they perceive is a drudge.
In any case, these children will end up in a fiercely competitive economy. I wonder how this curriculum prepares them for this.
In my antiquated philosophy, here are some of the qualities that should be taught:
- morality (not religion)
P.S. Abstinence wouldn't be bad, either.
Bert de Pedro
More on Trapping
Trapping enthusiast and right-wing demagogue Kenneth Hough (Letters, July) rationalizes that James Oden is nothing but an unemployed mental case from out of state.
Restraint devices—leghold traps, snares and many conibear traps (incorrectly promoted as quick-kill traps)—hold animals for indefinite times, exposing them to the elements, predators, thirst, hunger and fear. For wild animals, being physically restrained is more traumatic than pain.
Death at the hands of trappers is by drowning, clubbing or shooting. Aquatic animals such as beavers, who hold their breaths for up to 20 minutes, are held under water by restraint devices to drown.
Hough's implied "hidden agenda" on the part of "enviro-zealots" pales in comparison to the hidden horror and cruelty of trapping.
Editor's note: As this issue was being prepared, the person at the center of the recent trapping controversy, James Oden ("The Quality of Mercy," June), contacted Desert Exposure to inform us of his intent to plead "no contest" to the charge against him, of killing a trapped coatimundi (which he viewed as putting it out of its misery). The personal strain of the case, which was to have gone to a jury trial on Aug. 9, proved too much for him, according to Oden.
Previous to this decision, a report by game and fish officer Rey Sanchez was obtained by Oden's attorneys, stating that on April 4 a medical examiner determined that the coatimundi alleged to be the animal Oden killed was found to have a broken leg. Wildlife experts generally agree that a coatimundi whose leg has been broken in a trap could not be rehabilitated.
Thought you might like to know that in a little town in the Alps of Switzerland, someone is sitting at a computer and laughing out loud at a butterfly "collapsing Don Trump's hair" (Continental Divide, July).
We purchased a home in Deming last year in which our bodies will reside year-round by 2010, but our minds are there just about every day.
Your Desert Exposure is held in high esteem by friends of ours who moved to Deming over two years ago. The content of your articles makes me feel that I am really just away from home 'til I get back there.
Thanks for being there—locally and globally.
Switzerland (via email)
Corrections and clarifications:
Paul Hyder, the subject of our July article "The Scorpion King," writes to clarify and expand some points in the article. The Kansas family mentioned in the article that was living with 2,400 spider had recluse spiders, not black widows. There are five US varieties of black widows, of which the western widow is the largest species. The bite of the tarantula is venomous but is not dangerous.
On scorpions, Hyder clears up a bit of confusion: "The group of scorpions referred to as the stripe-tails have species that occur here but the Striped-Tail scorpion (Vaejovis spinigerous) isn't found in our area." Bark scorpions, the most toxic scorpions in our area, sting 1,000-2,000 people a year but deaths are extremely rare; the death Hyder cited was unrelated to allergies. He adds, "It might be best to say that there is a potential for serious results from bark scorpion stings but the majority of stings are, at worst, painful." Also, to clarify, the compounds secreted by vinegaroons don't change; rather, they change the permeability of the exoskeleton of the target animal.
On other critters, the legs of a centipede are not poisonous. The "shrew of the desert" is actually a sun spider or solpugid. About a dozen species of roach are serious pests, not six. And about 200-300 people are bitted annually by rattlesnakes, not 12; rather, about 12 people may die in a bad year.
We'd also like to correct several typographical errors in the article, for the record: "David Richmond" should be "David Richman," the "Amazena" family of spiders should be "Ammoxenidae," "Rick Venners" should be spelled "Rick Vetter," and the "massaugh" snake should be "massasauga."
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