Young Scientists Growing Up Early and Embracing Ecology

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I walked into a 3rd grade classroom to hear them asking their teachers if they had to worry about being shot by guns. An hour later, I found myself joining the school in a walkout to protest gun violence.

The next class I walked into had a list on their TV of steps to take to identify 'fake news.'

While I haven't been in a third grade classroom in decades, I was pretty sure this was certainly not the 3rd grade I knew...

I was here to shoot photos for Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors (, a non-profit I've recently joing the board of that's dedicated to connecting children to nature, especially minorities and those in under-served areas.

There are kids that live 15 minutes from the great Columbia River Gorge that have never been in a forest.


This had to change.

And I wanted to help.

I needed to help.

So when I was asked to join the board, I jumped on the opportunity, and so far it's been a wonderful experience.

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After the gun questions and the fake news detection reminders, the ECO educator was introduced and the vibe of the classroom shifted immediately to one of celebration. The kids couldn't contain themselves that it was ECO day. As for me? Knowing that these kids are getting excited about learning about nature and ecology was one of the most hopeful feelings I've ever felt. And when the educator, Betsy Lattig Boudreau, referred to them as scientists, and that galvanized their attention, my heart felt fuzzy and warm.

They were taught the differecnes between native and invasive species, the difference between organic and inorganic material, and were giving the opportunity to plant native trees in a children's arboretum in town. 

I was home!

Anyhow, I had the opportunity to join them on 3 sessions so far, 2 in the classroom, and one in the field with Friends of Trees, planting and learning about native trees in a habitat just outside of town.

There's plenty more to come, including some 360 Virtual Reality video, but I couldn't contain myself any longer...I had to share a few images of the happy!

Nevermind the temporary nonsense, the future is looking quite bright people...

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