Earlier this week we were given animals as symbols for each member of the group. These ranged from everyday creatures to more rare species as well. Squirrels, chipmunks and racoons were in the same pool as Moose, Bears and wolves. Even bees and mosquitoes had made appearances. Students were given animals at random and then asked a simple question: « how is this animal like you? ». I was given the title of racoon and found myself completely lost.
How was I similar to a racoon? What characteristics even remotely positive does an animal that eats literal garbage have? Even harder, which of those potential qualities did I embody? These were all questions I had asked myself before finally deciding that the best course of action was to simply learn more about their lives. This simple topic for research found itself highly revelatory…
Mueller, Malte. “Person Sitting on Stack Reading Book.” www.gettyimages.ca/detail/illustration/person-sitting-on-stack-reading-book-royalty-free-illustration/663748527.
Racoons are much more and accomplish much more then the public eye perceives. According to Natran Green pest control, racoons keep balance and equilibrium in their respective ecosystems. They are predators and prey, their existence takes care of rodents and insects wile also keeping larger animals at bay. They do work no one seems to heed or notice which is something I can relate to. Similarly to them, my role in a group is not always visible from the outside and tasks like writing and structure don’t always take centerstage in presentations. In that aspect, I find us similar.
Much more then that however is a trait that I value in myself and in those I work with, a trait present even in racoons. That trait is determination and resourcefulness. Racoons aren’t choosers, not in what they eat or even where they live. Racoons preferably live in wooded areas and forests and yet find themselves able to survive and even thrive in suburbs and cities. Their diet is opportunistic, they eat almost anything they can get on hand, they adapt and overcome obstacles. They often travel almost 18 miles for food alone, even managing to survive the extreme conditions in Alaska! that ability is something I admire and a quality I like seeing in myself, working in all conditions and adapting and changing plans to get work done. That determination may render them aggressive (something I also see in myself), but that aggressive attitude is more a byproduct of their determination and seek for survival. Determined and Resourceful are qualities that not only I can relate to, but qualities I had not previously thought they possessed. I now have a sort of new respect for our garbage eating friends.
“Facts about Raccoons: Raccoon Facts: Havahart®.” Havahart, www.havahart.com/raccoon-facts.
“The Role of Raccoons, Mice, and Opossums In Our Ecosystems.” Natran Green Pest Control, 1 July 2019, natran.com/the-role-of-raccoons-mice-and-possums-in-our-ecosystems/.