From the eyes of babes
Before we went to Wyoming we stopped in at the library and checked out every book we could find about Wyoming, Yellowstone, Buffalo!, wolves, the west, etc. G-man devoured them like he does any reading tangent he gets fixated on (His current obsession is baseball and reads a book from this series in a day). A few of the books were read before the trip but most were saved for the airplane. One of the most fascinating things that he learned and then taught us is that what we all believe to be a buffalo is not really a buffalo and is actually a bison. True ‘buffalo’ are native only to Africa and Asia. Then we tried to think of all the things that are named after the non-native buffalo – Buffalo, NY should be Bison, NY (look at all these mis-named places -scroll down) the buffalo nickel should be a bison nickel, Buffalo Bill should be Bison Bill but Bison Soldier just doesn’t sound right cue Bob Marley. There are many theories but it is unknown exactly why the bison of North America became incorrectly called buffalo.
This is an example of one of the absolute joys of having kids. They open your eyes to so many things. As adults we have a vision of the world and the way it is supposed to be or the way we believe it to be and they challenge this through their desire to learn. All we have to do to encourage them is to have an open mind and find them the resources to acquire the knowledge.
We had so much fun with the bison/buffalo to the point of annoyance. The entire week of our visit to Wyoming G-man corrected each and every person that said ‘buffalo’ and by the end of our trip we were all saying bison. I told him that if he has a school project that involves the study of animals that he will have to choose the bison so he can educate all of his friends and teachers.
On our day spent in Yellowstone we were lucky enough to see many bison. At one point we were in a traffic jam caused by the bison that delayed our exit from the park by 20 min. or so. They crossed the road or just stood in the middle of it. What could anyone do? It’s their land and we were the aliens. The kids loved it (as did the adults).