By Gabe Silver, JRA Education and Outreach Manager
Those whose work involves email will be familiar with the sense of dread held by the “inbox” upon one’s return from a vacation. So it was for me, coming back in October after taking some time off, and facing my inbox for the first time. Amongst the many electronic missives chronicling things to be done, fixed, or responded to, was a simple message from Botetourt County teacher Sharon Keith that warmed my heart, and that’s what I’d like to share today.
Sharon Keith is one of nine teachers who, along with students from her school, participated in this past summer’s James River Expedition. The group from James River High School in Botetourt County came halfway across the state one overcast Saturday this past July to begin paddling in Richmond. Eight days of hard work and learning later, they paddled around the point at Fort Monroe and into the Chesapeake Bay. The students had a chance to connect with the river, living in and around it each day and learning from their experience about the beauty, importance, and health of the river.
We say goodbye at the end of these amazing journeys and hope that the inspiration about conservation and the environment lasts with each participant. So an email like Sharon’s really makes my day!
She simply reported that she and her students had gotten involved in the Upper James River Volunteer Clean-Up Day. She reported that these energized young river rats not only decided to help with a day of pulling tires and other trash out of the river, but had recruited fellow students to help out as well. And furthermore, they don’t want to stop there; they want to take on other river conservation projects in the future.
So thanks Sharon, for connecting your students to the James River, and especially for taking the time to send us a few pictures. Seeing kids take on cleaning up their world (most often a mess they didn’t create), helps everyone stay inspired to keep working for a better future.