Sherrie G.

YMCA Camp Seymour

This year, our fifth grade classes were able to experience Camp Seymour in a personal way. Each year, we try to extend the students' learning with activities they can do once we are back in the classroom. This year, after participating in the Albatross bolus examination and finding all the pollution these birds eat, the class was on fire with questions about how pollution affects other animals too.

We decided to create a polluted water environment where the students would be asked to use different tools to clean up the pollution in their separate environments. There was paper, glass, oil, cardboard and much more that humans use and throw away in the water. (Many of the items were also in the Albatross bolus that the students found at camp.) After the activity, we discussed how difficult many of the items were to remove from their environments and how that pollution affects animals and humans. We also discussed ways we can help to prevent this same type of pollution. Since many of our students are very familiar with animals that live in or near the water, this sparked indignation in them, enough to put out the word that we should all keep the water clean. They were ready for action.

During the Albatross bolus examination at Camp Seymour, the naturalist mentioned that there were areas in the ocean where huge piles of garbage are floating and how much has actually sunk to the bottom. After returning back to school, we found out that ships were allowed to dump their garbage into the ocean. The students decided they needed to help stop that. We are now in the process of researching how Naval ships and other vessels are changing how they dispose of garbage. Our students also intend to write letters to officials who can help them with their cause.

As a teacher, to see your students so engaged and with a passion to work to change wrongs they have seen, makes me as excited as they are 'knowing this is where it all starts' with our students, the adults of the future! It only takes one to change the world. Thank you so much for providing these life changing experiences at Camp Seymour.

Sherrie Gill, 5th Grade Teacher at Grapeview School District #54