By Anna Mar, Ocean Connectors Youth Leader
San Diego: America’s finest city. This Southern Californian jewel boasts beautiful beaches, great year-round weather, amazing food, and a one-of-a-kind lifestyle! I came to San Diego with a dream to change the world, and the determination to make it happen. Long story short, I earned my degree in Biology, learned about Ocean Connectors on a flight, and joined the team as a Youth Leader!
I love the opportunity to share my enthusiasm of the natural world with the next generation. Many of the students we work with experience a lot of “first times” with us, such as their first time planting, first time bird watching, and first time learning to use microscopes. Perhaps the most rewarding moments are simply seeing the wonder in their eyes when they observe microscopic organisms for the first time or the smile on their faces as they plant their first native species. As many of the students come from a rough background, their walls are up when they first arrive at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, but by the time our trip is over, students are actively sharing their newfound knowledge with their friends. I love this part of the job—letting kids be kids and encouraging them to have fun learning together.
Another part of being an Ocean Connectors Youth Leader is capturing “the moment” through photography. The moment of amazement when a student sees an osprey dive and grab a fish right out of the water. The moment of curiosity when they see live plankton for the first time. The moment of satisfaction when they finish planting their first bladderpod plant and name it “Tatiana” with a smile. My assignment is to capture the moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
The memories that these students make now will forever be a part of them. If we can show the next generation how to care for the earth, we might have a chance to save it. If we can teach them to love and care for all living things, think how much brighter the future of our world will be. The world is made of people; by changing people for the better, you change the world for the better. By helping people understand their impact on the earth, you change their future and the future of our planet. This is why I love Ocean Connectors and what we do—we change the world, one student at a time.