Herpetologists don't get enough credit. The unsung heroes of fragile ecosystems, their branch of science & biology doesn't garner the attention of... say... an astrophysicist? A neurobiologist? Or any of the slew of other impressive sounding "ists" that are given to the extraordinarily intelligent, genius-types whom are a minority on this planet. I'd dare say that most common-folk don't even know what a herpetologist does, what their field of study covers, and may even give you a funny look when you say...herpetology. "Herpe-what? Sounds like a personal problem to me. Have you been to the doctor lately?" In case you don't feel like clicking the link above, in layman's terms, herpetology is the study of reptiles & amphibians.
In my wildest dreams I am a herpetologist (I also moonlight as an ornithologist). In REAL life, I am just a mom. A mom who loves critters, especially the "slimy" kind. A mom who jumps in feet first into that pond to scoop up that gorgeous specimen of bull, green, or leopard frog. A mom who takes her boys out after dark with spelunking headlamps to catch that spotted salamander migration. A mom whose love affair with the "red eft" stage of the eastern newt (a distraction since childhood) has brought her to a very comfortable placeas a mother to males. Now I'm planting those seeds, that sense of wonder, in my children. I only hope that it stays with them, that these treks & adventures will cause them to take pause as they grow older, to absorb their surroundings, and to think of me.
*Again, photo credits go to my 11 year old.*