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Read Me A Bedtime Story: The Dragonflies

Read Me A Bedtime Story

The Dragonflies

By: Jonathan Joy

 

The trio called themselves The Dragonflies. 


The Dragonflies were the last remnants of Mrs. Lyon’s Environmental Club at Splendid Elementary, one that had been disbanded due to budget cuts. 

While most students simply moved on to other groups when the Environmental Club was eliminated, Susan, Fred, and Carolyn banded together. Susan led the way.  “Planet Earth needs protection.” Fred enthusiastically agreed.  “Yeah!  We got your back, Mother Earth.”

“I’m mostly just here cause y’all are my friends and Susan’s mom makes great snacks.”  Carolyn admitted.  “But, yeah, I’m okay with the Earth saving stuff, too.” 

Each of the three young ones bore a matching, albeit fake, dragonfly tattoo on their forearm.  They’d fist bump, tattoos up, and shout “Go, Dragonflies!” The Dragonflies organized a river sweep to clean up trash along the banks of the Ohio River. They started a neighborhood beautification project that involved cleaning up litter all over.  In the process they figured out there was money to be made in recycling the aluminum cans. 



The trio advocated for environmental issues, too. Susan spoke before the City Council to try to convince them to implement curbside recycling in town. Fred wrote letters to the Board of Education about a tree planting Earth Day event being held at Splendid Elementary.

Carolyn used the group’s aluminum can money to print flyers detailing the benefits of composting, which she then distributed to neighbors. 

When news broke that the Mega Mega Mart would be expanding into a Mega Mega Mega Mart out in the Mysterious Moors, Susan was irate. “That’s a wetland!” She shouted to County Commissioners during their monthly public meeting. “What in the world is a wetland?”  Mr. Mega implored.“Dragonflies, at the ready!”  Susan ordered.

In a blink, Fred and Carolyn were by her side.  Fred distributed informative pamphlets to all in attendance, while Carolyn stared down Mr. Mega with fury in her eyes. “Settle down, Carolyn.”  Susan said.  Carolyn didn’t move. Mr. Mega just smiled awkwardly. Susan took control of the meeting.  “A wetland is, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘land or areas that are covered often intermittently with shallow water or have soil saturated with moisture.’”

Fred followed up, “Examples include swamps, marshes, bogs, and Mysterious Moors.” 

Carolyn’s assertive stance had not subdued.  “Got it, Mr. Mega?  Do you hear what they’re saying?!”

Susan and Fred calmed Carolyn and eased her into a nearby chair, though her gaze lingered hauntingly on Mr. Mega.  Still, she commanded, “Tell him why wetlands are important.”

Susan lectured, “According to the U.S. Geological Survey, ‘Wetlands provide habitat for thousands of species of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals.’”“Like Dragonflies.”  Fred added. “Dragonflies!”  Susan, Fred, and Carolyn shouted, in unison.  Then, they fist-bumped, tattoos up.

Adults in the room exchanged confused glances, though none of them could deny they knew more about wetlands now than they did five minutes before. Susan continued, “According to National Geographic, wetlands ‘make up just 6 percent of Earth’s surface. Despite their small footprint, wetlands have important jobs, providing fresh water and habitats, and fighting climate change.” Fred added, “They soak up excess rainwater, too, and thereby prevent lots of potential flood damage.  Wetlands are like sponges, and just one acre of wetland can hold a million gallons of water!”

“Wetlands sound pretty important.”  Agreed Mr. Mega.  “But my low prices are pretty important, too.  Let me give you kids some Mega Mega Mega Mart coupons for your troubles.”

A very forgiving Carolyn snatched up the coupons, but her partners did not.  Susan and Fred stared Carolyn down, shaming her with their expressions.  Carolyn gave the coupons back reluctantly.  “No…thank you…”

“You can’t buy us off with coupons, Mr. Mega.”  Susan stood her ground.“Yeah!”  Fred agreed. Carolyn whispered, “They’re good deals, though…”

“Carolyn!”  roared Susan and Fred in unison. Carolyn changed course.  “I mean, yeah to the wetlands.  No to the coupons.” Susan continued.  “Fortunately, all building permits need approval of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.  They regulate, protect, and preserve all wetlands.”  Susan knew this because her mother was a Biologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

“You know, she’s right.”  One of the County Commissioners said to Mr. Mega.  The other Commissioners nodded in agreement. Mr. Mega’s request to build on the Mysterious Moors was ultimately rejected, much to the joy of the… “Dragonflies!”  Susan, Fred, and Carolyn yelled in unity.  Then, they fist-bumped, tattoos up. Fortunately, there’s plenty of available land in Splendid and that Mega Mega Mega Mart did find a homeland for expansion.  And, as a bonus, they did so without chopping any mountains in half.  The Dragonflies made sure of that.

Mr. Mega is pleased with the location of his new store.  There is even talk of a Mega Mega Mega Mega Mart expansion.  Hopefully, all will be handled in the most environmentally friendly way possible.  If not, The Dragonflies - our young ecological superheroes, will be there. 

Sometimes elders have just as much to learn from young ones as vice versa.  On one of her solo trips to the Mysterious Moors to photograph real-life dragonflies, Susan spied Mr. Mega.  His granddaughter stood by his side, and Susan stealthily got just close enough to hear him telling her, “It’s like a sponge, you see, these wetlands.  All kinds of plants and animals live here.  It’s their habitat.  That’s why we decided to build elsewhere.” Susan smiled, as Mr. Mega continued.  She went back to her photography but couldn’t wait to return home and share what she overheard with her mother and her fellow Dragonflies. 

 

 

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