During the 20 years of my employment with The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska, I’ve been involved in at least 20 bison roundups (we usually do two a year – one for each herd at our Niobrara Valley Preserve). Last week’s was my favorite, hands down. It wasn’t because the roundup went well – though it went as smoothly as any we’ve done. It wasn’t even because the weather was perfect – though it was. Nope, it was my favorite because it was the first time it’s ever worked out to bring my kids along.
I didn’t get to bring all of them, but everything lined up just right for John and Daniel, who were on fall break from school and were old enough to be helpful and safe. They had a great time, and the experience was far richer for me as well.
Now, to be perfectly clear, we don’t typically involve kids in our roundups, but I was able to supervise the boys personally and make sure they were safely doing work appropriate to their age and ability. To begin with, both of them just watched the process to learn how the animals are moved quickly through a series of alleys and gates with as little noise and stress as possible. Later in the day, they were both able to join in the work.