The following post is actually an article I wrote for our organization’s winter newsletter. This newsletter went out to our members, supporters, and government officials in February of this year. Note: There are places in the following post where I took out the name of the different schools in order to respect their privacy.
On a busy side street in a city 8,500 miles away from Penns Valley in a low white building there is a man named Dr. T. Sundaramoorthy. This man grew up in the arid Indian state of Rajasthan, where he studied for years under a famous ornithologist before moving to Chennai, the fourth largest city in India. Though he is only one of the city’s 4.43 million residents, he is working tirelessly to make a change in the world around him. I was able to meet Dr. Sundaramoorthy on a recent trip to India in his office at the C. P. Ramaswami Environmental Education Centre, where he is the Head of Biodiversity Conservation Education. During our meeting we discussed the various ways he strives to make students care about the environment, and while the education center is far from Penns Valley geographically, the distance between our ideas about environmental education is considerably smaller. The education booklets put out by Dr. Sundaramoorthy and the education center urge students to conserve resources, reuse materials, use less water, and care for their fellow creatures–all things that we teach to our children here as well.
My visit with Dr. Sundaramoorthy was an inspiring one. All people who work to teach future generations about the natural world (be you a teacher, parent, volunteer, or Crickfest attendee) should take heart knowing we are all part of a global community fighting to make the world a better place. I am taking this spirit with me as we move forward through the snow (one of the few things Dr. Sundaramoorthy doesn’t have to worry about) and towards the spring.
One exciting new development in education here in the valley is the announcement of a workshop held at the elementary school called “The Planning of Wetlands.” This workshop, organized by our organization and taught by a non-profit company, will give educators the tools they need to create wetland areas on school grounds, and then educate their students about them. This will help our organization continue to be a steward for the local watershed, as wetland areas on school grounds help decrease storm-water runoff, as well as teach children about a vital natural resource.
Spring environmental days are fast approaching and the planning process is well under way. I would like to thank you for your help with previous days (as volunteers or by letting children visit environmental areas on your property) and ask anyone who is interested in helping with this year’s environmental days to please contact me! We are always grateful for more helping hands.
The association is making progress on the environmental area at one of our elementary schools. An extremely talented local artist has been helping us with the planning stages, and when completed this area will represent the efforts of many different people within the region. The new environmental area will create a space where children of all ages can learn and interact with the natural world, and we are looking forward to creating a place both the school and community will be proud of.
In a changing world the challenge to instill a love and appreciation of the environment in children can feel daunting, but we must not be discouraged! Our children, and children all over the world, are interested, and it is up to us to feed their minds and hearts alike with information about the environment. If each of us plays our small role, together we can create a global change. Dr. Sundaramoorthy will keep working in Chennai, half-way around the world, and we must keep working here in Penns Valley.
Thank you again for all of the work you have done, and for your continued support of our environmental education program.