Tan Lines

6 May

I have quite a nice sunburn on my face and arms from being out in the sun these past two days. I don’t know why, but for some reason the sun does not agree with my skin. It’s really not fair, either, because everyone in my family tans really well. Both sets of grandparents did, both my parents do, and my brother. They can be out in the sun for a few hours and have a nice brown glow to them. Me? Not so lucky. You’d think my skin was made out of actual snow, the way it can’t handle being out in the sun. I don’t tan – I burn. You’d think that, genetically, I’d be set, that the sun really wouldn’t be such an issue for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last four years inside studying and doing homework at school. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like it. I’d say I’m the black sheep of my family, but instead it’s more like they’re all black sheep (or at least tan sheep), while I’m the white one.

So how did I get all this lovely sun, you say? I’ve been out at a field day for the Washington County Soil Conservation District, which they do every year for all the 4th graders in the county schools. I think there were around 700 kids out there between the two days, and it sure was hectic! They had 11 different stations to go to during the day, learning about water and soil conservation and the environment. It took me forever to find the place on Tuesday. I didn’t have any kind of address, just some directions from the girl who had this position before me. They ended up being mostly accurate – I got in the general direction, but then drove around in circles for about 20 minutes before I actually found the campsite where I was supposed to be. It didn’t help, either, that the sign they made to mark the turnoff was on this yellow cardboard, with FIELD DAY written in really skinny marker. Granted, the sign was bright yellow, but it was kind of hidden by some weeds and bushes, and you could barely read what the sign said from the road. After turning around in circles for a while, I finally found it. I got there with just barely enough time to set up and get everything together before the groups started rotating. Not a good start to the day.

On Tuesday, I brought the EnviroScape out there for them to see. I had my first group, and then had a little break because there was one empty slot for each presenter during the day. I ran down the hill to grab some paper towels from the bathrooms for cleanup, and I noticed this guy nearby talking about watersheds and water runoff. Basically, the exact same thing I was talking about. I looked over to see what he was doing, and he had an EnviroScape too! And even worse, all the kids were rotating from him and then to me, with just one station in between. I couldn’t believe it! What are the odds of us showing up with the exact same piece of equipment to demonstrate? I was pretty panicky at this point, because the day had just started and was already a big disaster. Thinking back on it, I feel really lucky that I walked down there at that point, because I had some warning about the situation and had some time to think of a solution. What I decided to do was have the kids actually do the presentation instead of me. I had them split into two groups and pretend like I was the student and they were the teachers. The first group presented the watershed demonstration and got to put all the pollution on the EnviroScape, and the second group brainstormed ideas to fix it and clean up the pollution. The groups were kind of awkward, because some were really big and others kind of small. The other problem was that they didn’t know each other – all the classrooms were split up – so they didn’t really talk that much. It ended up working out OK, though. They were 4th grade, so they kind of had a little bit of attitude about it, but not much. It definitely could have been worse. I felt bad that they basically did the same thing twice, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it at that point.

The day didn’t get much better from there. I hadn’t brought lunch with me, because I was running late that morning. What did they serve us for lunch? Fried chicken, cole slaw, biscuits, beans, and all those other dishes from KFC. It would have been good, I guess, had it not been so hot, and had I not been on this diet where I basically don’t eat any of that stuff. I’m sure that, had I eaten that, I would have made myself pretty sick from trying to eat healthy recently. That stuff certainly isn’t the worst stuff you can put in your body, but I know that my stomach isn’t used to it. So, I had a small biscuit and some water for lunch. Yummy.

Yesterday went a lot better, though. Of course it didn’t take me nearly so long to find the place, having spent so much time looking for it the day before. I came back to the Museum on Tuesday and went straight to Heather and Liz to tell them what had happened. Both of them were really surprised that there was someone else there with an EnviroScape. Not that the Museum is the only place in the world that has one, but it’s just not a common thing for education around here. It’s kind of expensive, too. Anyway, they suggested that I take the cockroaches out to the field day yesterday instead of the EnviroScape. There was no way I was going to knowingly bring the same program out there as someone else for the second day. The problem was that we don’t really have any other outreach programs that have to do with conservation, so I had to think of something else to do. And even though the cockroaches we have aren’t from around here, I still talked about how they are decomposers that help replenish the soil. It was definitely a stressful couple of days, but it all worked out OK in the end. I just really hope that nothing like that happens again. Luckily I have some quick problem-solving skills and can usually stay calm under pressure, but I really prefer to not have to use them.

I just have a red forehead now. Battle scars, I guess.


One Response to “Tan Lines”


  1. Chills « Confessions of a Lazy Llama - 10 May, 2011

    […] of the day, even while holding a huge exotic bug. I did this same one last year (you remember the Enviroscape fiasco, right?), so I was used to the format and the other presenters. Of all the conservation camps there […]

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