Leave No Trace
Stop Bothering Me
Observe people as if they were in a zoo and see how they like it.
Participants will understand how humans harrass animals through their self-centered actions.
Participants will be able to:
- enjoy animals from a distance
- recognize how invasion of an animal's space is harrassing and dangerous.
- hard candies, Hershey Kisses, or similar small snacks
Animals live in stressful, difficult environments. When we invade their homes, we increase the stress and we sometimes harrass them.
- Put 3 or 4 candies in the center of the area. Have 3 or 4 volunteers sit around the candies. Everyone else can gather around at a fair distance.
- Give the camera to one person who will help you later.
- Tell the volunteers that, since they volunteered, they get a special treat.
- As they are eating, tell the rest of the group, "Cool! Look how they unwrap the candy. And, see how they put it in their mouths right from their hand? Oh, look there, that one scrunched up the wrapper!"
- Get closer and closer to the eaters as you talk. Point out how their cheek muscles clench when they chew and how you can see them swallowing.
- Ask the person with the camera to take your picture by the eaters.
- When it looks like they are done eating, ask if they'd like some more.
- Assuming they say YES, toss one candy in the center. If no one takes it, tell them to go ahead and eat it. One will be first to get it. Point and tell the rest of the group, "Hey, did you see that? Did you see how that one guy grabbed the candy so fast? Cool!"
- Go to the group and ask if anyone else wants a candy. Then, hold out a candy to someone and when they hold out their hand or reach for it, move it just out of their reach. Tease them to take it, but not too much so it's pretty easy for them to get it. Again, yell to the rest of the group how neat it was to see the candy get grabbed right out your hand like that.
- Tell the camera person to come closer so they can get a good picture. Toss 2 or 3 candies into the middle of the eaters and tell the camera person to "Get that shot!" while the eaters are scambling for them.
- Ask a couple other people if they want to give out some candy. Give out just 3 or 4 more pieces.
- Get your picture taken while you're rubbing an eater's head while he's chewing his candy.
Ask the Eaters how they felt with everyone watching them.
Was it degrading to have to perform for the treats?
Were they uncomfortable having people watch them eat?
- Have 3 or 4 new volunteers sit in the center of the area. Everyone else can gather around at a fair distance.
- Give the camera to one person.
- Tell the volunteers that they are all chipmunks, squirrels, or raccoons and they should act the way they think these animals would really react. If it helps, they can pretend the candies are peanuts.
- Repeat the same general activity.
Did any of the animals attack or steal the food even before it was offered?
Animals will usually run away if they are not used to humans. If they are habituated, then they may expect hand-outs and even become aggressive.
How could we treat animals such as these that we find in the wild? (view from a distance, never feed them)
Leave No Trace - or even LESS trace