Appreciate the other species you cross paths with.

A few weeks ago, most students from my school got sent home for the rest of the semester. As an RA, I am one of the few that still remains.

Living on a relatively empty campus has brought about many changes. The school consolidated buildings, meaning many of us had to move. Dining also moved buildings for the third time this semester. We also have weekly testing to prevent another spike from occurring.

Out of all that has happened, there has been one bright spot that I have enjoyed personally. With fewer people walking around, the animals have started to show themselves.

I have always been fascinated by animals. I remember in third grade I bought a book that had 900 pages filled with pictures of animals and a paragraph or two of description for each species. Every page was a new surprise that caught my curiosity and long to see them in person.

Going to the zoo was one of my favorite activities. Being able to witness the size of an elephant or the power of a tiger was nothing short of magical for my interested brain. I would stop and read whatever I could about their size, their main habitat, predators and prey, etc. In short, I was utterly captivated by animals.

Now, during my five-minute walks to and from the dining hall, there are so many deer and squirrels on college grounds. The squirrels chase each other around and carry their acorns, while the deer munch on their grass. The other day, I saw ten deer split between three different areas of campus. I have also managed to witness a woodchuck finish his journey home, as he scooted beneath into his spot hidden by a rock wall.

These animals have always been around campus, but they have been much closer and in larger numbers since the campus emptied out. Their presence probably doesn’t make a difference to most people on campus, but seeing them is a bright spot of my day.

Our planet is filled with some of the most beautiful creatures. Whenever I see them, I have to admire how beautiful and unique they are. They make the world a more interesting place that I hope to travel and explore. I’m lucky to be able to witness them up close each day.

I don’t what future generations will think about animals and I only know a little about what the current generation thinks, but I couldn’t imagine my life without them. Even the bugs, while not nearly my favorites to be around, are a crucial part of the functioning of this planet.

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