How to Build an Animal Nest

While my students wrote many moving letters for change this spring, there is one letter I wanted to share here, partly because you all are exactly who could enact the vision it describes (much better than the president!) and partly because I think it expresses something so beautiful and essential about what it is like to be a child — that intersection between the mythic and the mundane where children so clearly live. So, with its author’s permission, here goes:

I am Raina. I’m seven and I really want more people to have good plants for animals and make sure they have good food to eat and a place to live. For instance, people can have bird feeders and trees for birds and make animal nests. If you have two big plants that make a sort of cave then it makes a good place to build one. It’s even better if there’s moss in front of it because if it rained at night the moss would soak up water and if the animal was thirsty it could drink from the moss and it would stay dry in the night from the leaves. I’ll tell you how to make one: gather moss but not if its in front of the plants because then the animal wouldn’t be able to drink water in the morning and you will need a lot of moss. First you push some moss into the ground to make a sort of carpet then take some more moss and build up some moss 1 1/2 inch all around the moss pushed into the ground. You should make the moss carpet one foot by one foot. Then you should put some fluffy moss on the carpet of moss and make a sort of pillow. Then you’re done. You could also make the bed in your sandbox cover if you have a sandbox. I’m making one in my yard in a plant cave.