Do this, not that: Keeping curious kids from disrupting wildlife

They don’t mean to try to pet squirrels—here’s how to show them why they shouldn’t

When Lauren Gay’s son was little, it wasn’t unusual for him to bring “friends” home in his pocket. “He was the kid who would come home with a salamander,” she recalls with a smile and a shrug. “It happened.” 

And though she wanted to encourage her son’s love of the outdoors, she still gently explained to him that taking the salamander from its home wasn’t exactly good for the salamander.

The inclination to collect seashells at the beach (without considering what might live in them) or turn a salamander into a pet is common among naturally curious kids. But despite good intentions, a child’s curiosity can accidentally damage wildlife and their habitats.

“I think the most important thing a

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