So here’s my first post of the year from the land of critters. It’s been a year of many ups and downs. We’ve lost a few old friends and made some new critter friends. Such is the cycle of the animals in our collection. Each animal we have has made an impact on our lives as keepers. Caring for these animals is a lifetime commitment of love, tears, hard work, fun and frustration. We strive to make the lives of our animal ambassadors who live in our facility worthwhile and enriching. Many of our critters serve to help our visitors be aware of what’s going on in the natural world outside of our boundaries. If you enjoy spending time observing our animals, take time to go out and observe our animals’ cousins in their natural habitats. Respect that there are areas where we, as humans, need to protect open spaces so that wildlife and wild places can stay on the map for future generations to enjoy. Without time to rejuvenate your spirit in the natural world, we may feel down and depressed. It’s critical to reconnect with nature on a regular basis. Go for a walk at lunchtime, take a mini vacation from the urban jungle to appreciate the jungle outside the indow in the woods. Here at the Museum, view wildlife and appreciate the beauty that each and every species has, and then go out and look for that magic in the woods. Take a break from the daily grind to stroll along a nature trail and see ducks, geese, and other shore birds enjoying a swim in the water or a snooze in the sunshine. Observe the raccoon, as she works her way along the shoreline looking for today’s dinner. Catch a glimpse of a majestic deer, leaping over the felled tree away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If we manage our wild areas so that we can live in harmony with the wildlife that inhabits our daily lives, the world would be a much nicer place. Unfortunately, many of our wild friends are loosing areas in which to live their own lives. It’s an eternal struggle of development and services to make our daily comforts and needs stay in harmony with the natural world. We do the best that we can with what we’ve got, but strive to do better in this upcoming year. I look forward to sharing posts with you throughout the year about our critters, but until then, try to get out there when you’re not here and enjoy nature. Because after all, Nature is our Commonwealth.