Saturday, November 24, 2007

Education is the Key

As I have mentioned before, we are excited to have Danielle Dolan on board with us. Danielle is our new Education and Outreach Coordinator. She will be developing lesson plans, educational activities, and programs and leading educational boat trips. As I am writing this, Danielle is getting ready to embark on the latest Family River Ride boat trip with over 50 kids and adults.

I will go ahead and state the obvious. Education is critical to the future of our river. If people don't understand, appreciate, and have a connection to the river, they will not be as inclined to take responsibility for protecting it. Through the boat trips, we are trying to give people the opportunity to get to know their river. The St. Johns is a unique, fascinating, and beautiful body of water with a rich history and biodiversity, and many people just don't know that much about it.

If you can't take one of our boat trips, I encourage you to get out there and explore the St. Johns River on your own. Visit a park that is located on the river, attend a naturalist program, go for a paddle, or just take a stroll along the riverwalk. Read a book about the St. Johns (I highly recommend "River of Lakes"),and learn more about this remarkable river. On our website, we have a lot of information about the ecology and history of the river. We also have a page about the inspiration that the river has provided for artists and a section about how to access the St. Johns - where to eat, hike, boat, camp, rent a kayak, etc. Our new Education page has links to numerous education websites related to the river.

For more information about upcoming Family River Ride boat trips:

St. Johns Riverkeeper Education and Outreach website page:

1 comment:

SPR said...

Danielle was the guest speaker at a workshop I recently attended. The first few hours were dominated by various scientists from the SJRWMD. I questioned each one on the issues of the withdrawal from the St. Johns, and all either confirmed the data I had read/found and/or openly agreed with the position that it would be foolish to withdraw from the upper St. Johns. Imagine that. I am not sure if Danielle was there when I was asking questions.

When Danielle got up for her presentation, it didn't take too long before the SJRWMD tried to shoot her down (on the same facts they had been agreeing with me on). She merely pointed out that her numbers were the SJRWMD's numbers. Next they tried to make it appear as if she were simply being inflamatory.

Too bad. Danielle schooled them. The problem here is that it was obvious that the scientists did not buy the position of the bureaucracy. Unfortunately, they found themselves cornered, and in the position of having to serve two masters (the bureaucracy of the SJRWMD and the tenets of the scientific community).

Final comment. I participated in a letter writing campaign to the SJRWMD, the Governor, the Mayor of Jax, and City Councilpersons. Some also wrote our U.S. Senators, and state representatives. The only politician vehemently opposed to the St. Johns suck-down was Jim King. The SJRWMD (Kirby Green) response was simply a cut and paste of their web page. The rest just BS'd their way around the whole issue.