August will mark my 15th year working for the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) and it will mark my 13th year educating students through the NBC's environmental education program. The program has changed over time, many of the students change each year, and I have changed and I believe grown as an educator in these years, but something that never changes is that I LOVE WHAT I DO. I am privileged to work with some of the most incredible students every year who end up teaching me just as much as I hope I am teaching them. I find so much inspiration in so many of them.
One of those students this year, is Ayla Goffe from the Anna McCabe Elementary School. I had tears welling in my eyes reading her absolutely impeccable water challenge journal yesterday. Each year as part of the NBC Watershed Explorers Program, I challenge students to choose a water site that they will visit once a month beginning in October and ending in April. The students are asked to record the date, time, and what the weather is like the day of their visit. They are asked to record a short paragraph about what they notice about their water site as well as take or draw a picture of something they see. Out of 670 students, I received 12 water challenge journals. It is not easy, which is why I always tell the students, "That is why it is called a challenge!" I cannot thank the students who completed this challenge enough for their amazing work. I wanted to showcase Ayla's work because in a lovely last note, in addition to her amazing journal, she captured the true essence of the challenge. Ayla, I want to thank you for truly taking the time to create such an amazing work of art. I hope that you will treasure this experience and this journal for many years to come.