Written by Hannah Juhl
In the story, two young sisters, Abby and Alex conquer their fears of animals in the forest. Their mother teachers them about amphibians and the dangerous situations that they encounter during their lifetime. The two sisters learn about the ways of the animals in their backyard, and learn a valuable lesson about how to take care of the wildlife that is among their community.
Keywords: curiosity, forest, help, salamanders
It was the first day of Spring, temperatures were starting to rise, and rain was starting to fall. A pair of sisters, Abby, and Alex wanted to go exploring in a nearby forest as it was the first day of Spring.
Abby and Alex put on their raincoats and rain boots and grabbed their umbrellas and they headed out the door, beaming with excitement of feeling warmer weather on their cheeks. They lived in a small town in Illinois and winters were harsh every year.
When Spring comes the sisters feel happier and more alive with the warmth of the sun on their skin. Abby and Alex skipped through the prairie grass in their backyard hand in hand heading for the forest.
Abby and Alex arrive in the forest and start adventuring. As Alex runs along gawking at the sight of the first Spring day, Abby falls behind.
Abby is trying desperately to catch up with Alex. Abby trips on a log buried underneath the soil and falls face first to the ground.
As Abby tries to move her head up from the ground, she comes face to face with a salamander. She screams in terror and Alex stops dead in her tracks. She turns around and runs towards Abby with worry.
When Alex reaches Abby, she is still on the ground struck with fear by the salamander. Alex holds in her laughter and picks up the salamander and moves her away from her sister.
Abby is shocked that Alex had such courage to grab such a scary animal. Abby looks at Alex and says, “How can you do that? Aren’t you scared of those gross things?”
Alex replies with laughter, “They are harmless cute little animals!”
Abby is surprised by her sister’s response. After that horrific ordeal, Abby begs her sister to head home.
The two girls run along home just in time for dinner.
As the two girls sit down for dinner their mother asks them how their afternoon went.
Alex replies with laughter and says, “Abby was scared of a salamander today it was SOOO funny.”
Abby becomes red-faced and replies, “I was not that scared.”
Alex laughs at that response from her sister. Mother looks at the two girls and shakes her head and says, “You know girls, salamanders are an intriguing species. I studied them when I was in college.”
Alex stops eating, interested in what her mother has said and asks, “Really mom? What do you know about them?”.
Mother says, “Well when I was in college, I studied the habits of salamanders for a semester or two.”
Alex becomes curious, “What did you learn about them mom?”
Mother states that, “Well you see girls, salamanders live in multiple different areas. When it becomes Springtime like it is right now, salamanders move from forest areas to wetlands to lay eggs.”
“REALLY? Like babies?” asks Alex.
“Yes, like babies,” Mother responds. She continues, “Salamanders have to move from the forest back to the wetlands to lay their eggs because when the eggs hatch the baby salamanders do not have developed lungs yet to be on dry land like their mother. Did you girls know that when salamanders lay eggs, they lay from 100-200 eggs at a time?”
The girls are astonished by that news.
Abby asks, “Well mom how are they able to carry all those eggs from the forest back to the pond?”
Mother replies, “Well Abby it is actually very dangerous for the salamanders to travel that far, there are other animals that prey on them and they have to cross very dangerous paths to get to the pond.”
Abby and Alex both look concerned.
Alex says, “Well mom what can we do to help them? I do not want a pregnant salamander hurt while trying to lay her eggs.”
Mother looks at the girls and smiles, “Well, girls maybe tomorrow we can go on a salamander hunt and help the salamanders make a safe trip to the pond without getting hurt.” The girls look at each other with glee.
After dinner Abby and Alex help their mother with the dishes and go upstairs to prepare for bed. Both girls struggled to sleep that night because they were full of excitement for their salamander hunt.
The next morning, Abby and Alex woke up bright and earlier for their salamander hunt. Each of the girls got dressed, ate breakfast, and put on their raincoats and boots while they waited for mother to come downstairs. When Mother finally came downstairs both girls darted out the door with excitement.
Throughout that morning, the two girls and their mother scattered around the forest looking for salamanders in dangerous areas. As they approached the road between the forest and the nearby pond, they found numerous salamanders that they helped cross the road.
At the end of the day, the girls and their mother watched as the salamanders slowly crawled down into the pond. The three walked back to the house with big smiles across their face.
The two girls asked, “Mom, can we help salamanders every Spring?”
Mother laughed with a big smile, “Of course, girls.”