happy healthy watershed tears

Last Friday morning the Green Team took a group of excited youngsters into the field to learn about watershed restoration and invasive species identification and removal. When the kids arrived at Valley Catholic High School we gathered under a shelter and talked about what makes a watershed healthy. The kids, ranging in ages from 5-13, were eager to share their love and knowledge of our environment. Without being prompted the first words of the 5 year old were, “I care about the environment.” All the adults laughed and smiled at such beautiful innocence and love for life. After teaching the kids how to identify invasive blackberry we allowed them to choose their weapon of choice…a shovel or a pair of loppers. We put on our gloves and suited up to fight our enemy, but there was a problem. Our little 5 year old couldn’t find a pair of gloves that fit. After a short period of tears we were able to convince her that she could be the expert in blackberry identification and that she could play just as large a role in removing invasives as any one of the other children. I helped her use a shovel to remove the deep roots of the blackberry, allowing my weight to do the work and helping the 5 year old feel like she was stronger than she had been in her whole life, as she put one pink little boot on the spade. After much smiling, laughter and excitement of the progress we had made, the rain drove us back under the shelter. We decided to call it a day. As the children skipped off to their cars, the 5 year old’s tears were being washed away into our hopefully healthier watershed.\


Carl Heinz

Duke Engage Volunteer 2014

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