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Regulars Katie Colling

Katie Colling is shown in at the Sioux City Journal in this Jan. 17, 2013, portrait.

This is the second time I’ve had the privilege of submitting a column for publication on Mother’s Day. I’ve always loved the timing of Mother’s Day – for residents of an upper Plains state, it arrives just as the leaves on trees and bushes are newly green, the fruit trees are in blossom and bird songs fill the air. Spring imparts a sense of renewal and coming alive again, making time outside an imperative for me.

And, of course, I get to indulge in tender thoughts of my own mother, who – by example - taught me to appreciate and respect the gifts of Mother Nature throughout every season.

With this appreciation in mind, and a note of gratitude to all mothers, I’d like to share the thoughts of a group of observant, thoughtful and curious area children between the ages of 5 and 12. For my column, I asked them what they’d like to tell or ask Mother Nature if they could visit with her.

Here are their responses:

* “I like the flowers – I like the world, it’s really funner because it’s fun to play in.” Torin Willis, age 5.

* “I like Mother Nature because it’s the best creation that God could give us. My favorite part about it is that it produces oxygen for us.” Teagan Willis, age 7.

* “I love going for walks and smelling the flowers.” Sienna Grace Rocklin, age 5.

* “Okay, I can understand bees. But what do we need all the other bugs for? Centipedes? No. Wasps? No.” Joey Peterson, age 12.

* “I’d really like to talk about the excessive snow.” Charlotte Peterson, age 9.

* “Mother Nature, why are there only four seasons?” Liam Allen, age 8.

* “Why do you just chop down trees … to make a house? We already have a house. And, if there was some room in the forest, you could make a house for poor people. Much easier than just chopping down Mother Nature.” Nolan Allen, age 6.

* “I like nature because I can ‘camouflage’ in it. You know, like when I wear brown, I can camouflage with the tree.” Finley Roost, age 8.

* “I love nature. Even though it has lots of pollen and makes me snarf, it’s worth it.” C.J. Small, age 5.

* “I would ask Mother Nature to make the rain stop so the farmers can plant.” Brynlee Keffeler, age 7.

* “I’d ask Mother Nature to make it warm so that I can go swim in Mimi’s pool!” Boden Keffeler, age 5.

* “I’d ask her to rain money!” Gage Colling, age 12.

* “I would thank Mother Nature for giving us food to exist.” Emma Ream, age 5.

* “I would ask Mother Nature, why do we have snow in April?” Ava Graham, age 12.

* “Why do you make snow?” Jayci Lockamy, age 11.

* “Does mud grow?” Violet Uhl, age 6.

* “Where do colors come from?” Jayna Kellen, age 8.

* “How does fire come out of the trees? Is it the sun coming out of the trees?” Layla Sweeny, age 10.

* “Are wasps completely useless in nature? If not, what good things do they do?” Zoe Anderson, age 12.

* “Why do we have tornadoes and hurricanes?” Miles Anderson, age 10.

* “Can you make spider webs so we can see them? And, I want to know spiders better because if we knew them better, I bet spiders won’t bite us and we won’t stomp them. We think spiders are harmful, but I think they are harmless.” Hayden Kurth, age 8.

* “Why are clouds white?” Elliott David Kurth, age 6.

* “Why do we need plants to grow food?” Pierce Kurth, age 5.

Many thanks to the moms, dads and grandmothers who helped capture the thoughts of our future scientists, meteorologists, social workers, professors and artists.

Next week: Jim Wharton

Katie Colling is the retired executive director of Women Aware, a private nonprofit agency. She was elected to two consecutive terms on the Woodbury County Extension Council and serves on several civic-organization boards. She and her husband, Ron, live in Sioux City.

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