Today Becky, Emily, and I did an outreach for a 2nd grade class at one of the local Davis schools, Willett Elementary. We talked with the children about how oil spills are harmful to the environment, what we do when an oil spill does occur, and what are some ways that we can help reduce our dependency on oil. The kids were very engaged and had some unique and imaginative views of their own. We then helped them get their tyvek suits on and we created a mock mini-oil spill in a tub of water. The idea was to give them several “tools” to use to try to mop up and contain the oil and to see which ones worked the best. Several of the students also tried washing oil off off feathers.
It is easy to get a bit bogged down with preparing for talks at conferences, various paperwork, and the day-to-day office stuff. Teaching kids about oil spills and seeing their concerned and at the same time enthusiastic faces helps put things in perspective about why what we do is so important. We can only hope that outreach events such as these have a lasting impact on the minds of these young people.