Men's Health

PLAY DIRTY

Some of my favorite times in childhood were when I was outside catching things. I caught frogs. I caught fish. I caught snakes by the hundreds. I overturned logs and climbed trees. I explored. There must have been limits to my journeys—times I was supposed to be home, distances I wasn’t supposed to exceed— but I don’t recall them. Instead I remember only what I caught. Any childhood photo of me in which my feet are dry and I’m not holding a live animal was probably staged.

I was recently reminded of all this when my son’s kindergarten class took a field trip to a local pond. I’m a biologist at North Carolina State University, so the teachers asked me to come along. To prepare, I loaded up the car with nets,

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