Over a dozen years ago, I spent two summers as a nanny on a 240,000-acre Arizona ranch. The experience yielded a lifetime of amazing memories and a handful of treasures: arrowheads, clay pottery pieces, and a few bits of turquoise.
Over thirty years as a Marylander have yielded nothing in the way of Native American artifacts…until recently. Hiking along the Tuckahoe Creek, I glanced down to see the unmistakable form of an arrowhead nestled in the sand. A quick look at the carefully sharpened edges confirmed its authenticity, thanks in part to knowledge gained from a comprehensive flint knapping video all visitors to the Arizona ranch were required to view.
The interrelationship between native plants and native peoples is a theme I love to teach at the Arboretum. Most kids have an intrinsic interest in a past replete with wigwams, dugout canoes, and campfires. Several times a year, I dig out my Arizona finds to share with students. Now, I imagine how much more thrilling it will be to share a local arrowhead. To have my students close their eyes and picture the hunter who fastened sharpened stone to a shaft of ironwood.
Arrowheads may not be everyday finds, but all nature hikes reveal treasure of some sort. In addition to the arrowhead, recent treasures have included a charming green snake, two skinks, a trail of raccoon tracks, three bright blue butterfly wings, two toads, and a Northern Leopard frog. Not to mention the sight of my aging dog leaping from bank to bank with the enthusiasm of a pup.
This August has served up unusually cool temperatures, and next week’s forecast promises lovely days as well. So what are you waiting for? Go take a hike. As Calvin and Hobbes author Bill Waterson would tell you, “There’s treasure everywhere.”
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator