Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Got Dunked in the River by a 5th Grader...or Why Today Was AWESOME's true.  I did get dunked in the river by a fifth grader (well, the lower part of me did anyway) and today was awesome!

I've written about my goals for 2011 several times and I've even provided an update on goal #4 - "Complete my Virginia Master Naturalist certification."  What I haven't yet shared is what led me to pursue this certification.  There are actually many reasons why I want to become better educated about the natural areas and resources right in my backyard, but the one that resulted in me being dunked in the river today is that I want to be an environmental educator for children.  After a lifetime of soul searching to uncover my passion in life - which goes to the classic what-do-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up question - I've come to the unshakeable conclusion that teaching kids about the magic and wonder of the natural world around them is what sets my soul afire when I think about a career.  To me, this quote from Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum captures what it is about environmental education for children that stirs my soul. - "In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught."

And that brings me to goal #14 - "Partner with the local elementary school to share environmental education opportunities with the students."  This morning I joined the teachers of five fifth grade classes to test water quality in a nearby river.  And yes, when one student started to fall backwards in the water I grabbed him in a bid to keep him vertical and ended up with water down my waders.  It was fantastic - the whole morning was just fantastic!  The kids had a great time, I had a great time, and the teachers seemed to have a great time.  I am really looking forward to going out in the river again next month to see what changes the kids see in their data.

This little guy (who was about to be released into the river when this picture was taken) was - hands down - the kids' favorite critter.  Despite having reached the age of being too-cool-for-school, when the turtle came out of the river there was a virtual stampede of 10 and 11 year olds anxious to get a closer look.

The infrared cameras set up overnight by the testing site caught a glimpse of the beaver whose hard work can be seen here.

Deer tracks

After my morning of fun on the river, I had just enough time to pick Miss Intrepid up from preschool and meet up with a girlfriend for lunch.  Of course, this meant arriving slightly damp.  I shucked my socks, rolled up my pants, and went anyway (I know that my very fastidious brother is cringing somewhere right now - Running Man just shook his head and looked unsurprised when I relayed this story to him).  Luckily for me, my friend Ryan from The Woven Moments is one of those special friends who not only didn't mind my wet clothing, but accepted it as completely normal (or nothing to look askance at, anyway).

Making a soggy fashion statement
Do you have any friends who you just connected with on level after level the very first time that you met?  Someone that makes you laugh, supports you, and someone with whom you can really talk about your deepest hopes and dreams when you sit down for a mid-day meal?  Luckily for me, Ryan is one of those special friends.  You know...the sort of person who rolls with my less-than-ideal state of dress like it is no big deal, who can relate to my life in so many ways, and who looks upon the dining out antics of my youngest child with honest affection.  In fact, she is the type of friend who would happily take my three year old to the bathroom - at the request of said three year old - so that I could have a few minutes of quiet and solitude in the midst of my day.

After the excitement of wading in the river and the fun of lunch with a wonderful friend, my day was filled with sunshine and hours of outside time with Enthusiastic Explorer Boy, Princess Wonder, and Miss Intrepid.  Oh yes, it was an awesome day indeed!

"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."  ~Rachel Carson

1 comment:

  1. Love this post....mostly because I love things about ME!

    Kidding...sort of.

    Of course I, too, had a fabulous time at lunch. And I'm madly in love with all of your chidlren. :)

    Here's to us writer, explorer, kindrid spirit moms!