On Saturday evening, I drove from Santa Monica to Santa Ana. If you know me at all, you know this in and of itself was a huge feat, as I hate to drive. But some things are worth driving for and PBS SoCal’s A Lifetime of Learning Gala was one of those things.
Last year, Heal the Bay was chosen as one of PBS SoCal’s Community Champions for our educational programs that encourage engagement in learning, and, amidst the chaos of April 2012’s Earth Month, PBS SoCal filmed this lovely PSA about Heal the Bay’s educational impact.
The official award presentation was on Saturday evening, and we were honored amidst so many other effective individuals and organizations. For me personally, having spent the past 7 ½ years managing Heal the Bay’s environmental education programs, it was very rewarding to have these programs acknowledged by such an amazing organization and leader in education itself – PBS SoCal.
Most people know Heal the Bay for our cleanups and tabling events, but we also educate thousands of students every year, introducing them to our rivers, creeks and ocean, helping them to look at our natural world through a scientific lens, and inspiring a conservation ethic. People often assume that we only educate people living coastally, but we strive to provide opportunities for every student whether they live right on the beach or many miles inland to learn about our coastal resources and the ways they can become active stewards of them.
There are few experiences more rewarding than taking a child to the beach for the first time, leading them down the sand (“Teacher! It moves – the ground moves!”), and having them look out, not at buildings and roads, but at the ocean horizon, stretching for miles. Our educational programs do this and other similarly inspiring moments all of the time, so to be acknowledged for it was hugely rewarding.
A heartfelt thank you to PBS SoCal for honoring Heal the Bay for our educational work! And for letting me fulfill a childhood fantasy of having my photo taken with Big Bird! It was definitely worth the drive.