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Painting with Pat


Nature is all around us. But in our modernized more urban world, it can be hard to stay connected with it, mostly because we don’t make use of it. Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker met an art teacher who is trying to change that, by challenging kids to flex their mental muscles outside.

Pat says she can teach anyone to draw or paint…you just have to be willing to let go of you fear. One of her favorite quotes comes from Benjamin Franklin…”Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Pat loves her mission to save kids and wildlife one art project at a time. She’s created a place called “Pat TRacks,” a beautiful wildlife refuge in southern Middle Tennessee with native plants, native wild animals, a cold spring fed creek and waterfalls, where kids can actually hear, smell and touch nature. Visit her website at to learn more about Pat and her many wildlife art programs for kids.

As Pat will be quick to tell you, the first step to getting kids to care about nature is to get them out in it…and having FUN! Check out this Nature at Home segment for some cool ways you can help your kids explore the outdoors right in your own backyard.

Mousetail Landing State Park, located on the east bank of the Tennessee River in Perry County, is a great family destination. Fishing is a popular activity at the park, and is allowed anywhere you can reach water. Bass, bream, crappie, stripe and catfish can be caught along the banks. There are also trails, picnic areas, a swimming beach and a large pavilion. Tradition has it that Mousetail Landing received its name during the Civil War period when one of the area’s tanning companies caught fire. The exodus of mice fleeing the burning tannery was so profuse that the area in proximity of the park became known as Mousetail Landing.

The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) featured in Pat’s art lesson is Tennessee’s state reptile. Box Turtles are mid-sized, terrestrial turtles with a high, rounded shell that is dark with many yellow or orange splotches. These turtles can live a long time in the wild…anywhere from 50-100 years. They are omnivorous and eat mushrooms, berries, grapes, persimmons, and other fruits. Although adults are mainly herbivorous, they also eat worms, slugs, or insects. Box turtles have a low metabolic rate, which allows them to survive during times when food is scarce. There are 2 subspecies of box turtles living in Tennessee….the Eastern Box Turtle, which is found across the state, and the Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis), found in the extreme southwestern corner of the state.

From show 3009