When my husband and I were first dating, I taught French in the public school system, and his co-workers would refer to me as “the French madam.” With marriage and a move, I traded my windowless foreign language classroom for the Arboretum’s four hundred acres. My family grew, and so did my commitment to environmental education.
Nearly nine years into my career at Adkins Arboretum, the children who first participated in my nature preschool programs are now serving as summer camp counselors. One of the pleasures of my job is the variety of ages and topics I am able to teach.
Kindergarteners are among my most rewarding students, and when I run into one of the many who have participated in the Arboretum’s “Growing Up Green” program, I’m often met with happy cries of “Look! It’s the frog lady!”
Considering that frogs and their legs are inextricably linked to the French, my metamorphosis is perhaps not so surprising after all. One thing is certain: conjugating irregular verbs never filled me with the joy I experience each time I help a child connect with nature. Bien sûr, I’m the frog lady. And proud of it.
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator