This particular day, Doc Bruce and Pace science instructor Michelle Patterson led the girls through a program about man’s impact on the environment. Unfortunately for the ocean, it was a good day for the lesson, as the girls walked along the closed Bowman’s Beach and talked about the complexity of water quality issues. But one can’t fully appreciate a beach closure until you’ve had a chance to enjoy all that can be found in the near shore water. So the group ventured up to Bailey Beach and enjoyed seining for small fish. Then the girls happened across a shell bonanza in a small depression in the sand, reminding us of the element of discovery that distinguishes a fieldtrip from an outdoor lecture. Finding unexpectedly empty almost polished whelks and shark eyes to take home to sisters and moms, the girls were wide-eyed and eager.
In these moments we are reminded of how lucky we are to be custodians of this ocean environment. There is no lecture that can explain the wonder of a marine creature as well as the experience of finding it. And perhaps there is no way to truly value the ocean without ever exploring it. One day, very soon, these girls will be old enough to make a difference in environmental issues with their voice and their vote. We hope they choose to do so. And until then, they are making a difference in our lives with their joy and their whoops of surprise.