• cynthiamorissette

With All DUE Respect

Good Morning Watershed Explorers,

I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend. I wish you the best of luck starting your second week of virtual learning. Here's to making it the best you can!

Many of you know that aside from coordinating the NBC Watershed Explorers Program, one of Mrs. Morissette's passions is encouraging people to get outside. It isn't a surprise that with all of the malls, movie theaters, restaurants, zoos, museums and aquariums closed for inside business, many Rhode Islanders have taken to the nature trails for entertainment. As wonderful as it is to see more people enjoying these natural wonders, it has been very sad to see the added pollution. I want to take this time to remind everyone, including myself, that we owe nature respect. While spending time in natural places, it is important to remember the hiker's creed. This creed has a few variations, but the one that is most often found reads, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time."

There is so much that can be learned from this creed. Let's start with the first phrase, "take nothing but pictures". As much as we all might want a cool critter or artifact to take home from our adventure, all wild critters and artifacts need to remain where they are found. I encourage you to watch this reading of The Salamander Room which is a great model of why wild critters should stay wild. The other variation of the creed used to read take nothing but memories, but it was adapted to pictures as technology over the years changed. So take a picture of your awesome critter or artifact! Share it with others, and put it in your nature journal, but leave it in nature so that it may stay part of the ecosystem and be there for others to discover as well. I also want to remind everyone that if you are going to roll a log to look for critters underneath, please roll the log back in place before leaving the area and put any critters that you removed back near the log so they can return home.

The second phrase of the creed, "leave nothing but footprints" may be the most important. This definitely refers to the pollution that I spoke of earlier. Many people like to enjoy a snack on their hike, but there should be no signs of this snack left behind. There are also many dog-friendly trails in Rhode Island and people like to take their friends for walks. This is great too, however, the dog waste needs to be removed. The worst hikes are the ones where you have to watch your step every few feet because someone didn't pick up after their dog. The watershed also doesn't want this waste either, if you remember from our Build a Watershed lesson, dog waste adds fecal coliform bacteria to the watershed and can be very dangerous for all watershed inhabitants.

The last phrase, "kill nothing but time" refers to all living beings in nature. This may seem pretty easy to follow, but then you see a beautiful flower that would look lovely in a vase in your kitchen. Please remember that plants are living beings too and all living beings provide food, habitat, energy, and so much more for watershed areas. I have challenged you to make nature critters and I look forward to seeing some of your wonderful art, but as always I want to remind you to only use items that are on the ground and not to pick anything that is still alive.

If we all follow this creed while we are out in nature and give nature its DUE respect, we can all enjoy the beauty it has to offer, while ensuring that it remains beautiful for others. I know that each and every one of you understands how vital our watersheds are to this world and I know you will work hard to keep them safe.

Happy Monday Watershed Explorers!

Much love,

Mrs. Morissette