An Eight-Year-Old Proclaims: We Can Save The World!

A student’s heartfelt gift lets me know my message about environmental stewardship was heard.

Penny given to author by a student to remind her of all the possibilities for good in the world.
A penny was given to the author by a student to remind her of all the possibilities for good in the world. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017.

I always wait with the students as parents arrive to pick them up from our garden club meetings. Invariably, there is a student, usually one of the younger ones, who becomes nervous that their adult will not arrive to take them home. Pick up was from outside the school this week, as we planted the butterfly garden. And this was the cause of concern for at least one of my young students. As dismissal time drew near, Lewis* voiced his concern over his mom not knowing we were in the garden, instead of the library. Intentional or not, Lewis also left his backpack inside the building, not following my direction to bring everything outside because we would dismiss from the garden. His concern grew as he realized he was the only one to have left something inside. As more and more students were retrieved by their grown-ups, I told Lewis I would take him back into the library to pick up his backpack as soon as everyone else was picked up.

Just as we were headed up the hill, his mom appeared! I asked that she take him into the school to get his backpack and told him goodbye. It was our last garden club meeting, not only for the year but forever. I could not bring myself to tell the students this. The thirteen-year-old club had always been joined anew each year by students in the fall. I felt that emotions would be less close to the surface for both the students and me if I chose not to let the students know the club was ending. To not tell, was a selfish decision, I know. But one that I really felt was in the best interest of all.

Just as I was cleaning up, Lewis came running back to the garden. “Mrs. L., Mrs. L.,” he shouted, “wait!” He ran up to me and immediately started digging in his backpack.

“I have something for you,” he said.

This was not an unusual occurrence at the last club meeting of the year. Often students would make me a card or give me a coffee cup filled with tea bags, and sometimes with homemade cookies, too. Occasionally, the parents would thank me with a tangible gift as well. While none of it was necessary, it was welcome and heartwarming.



Carol Labuzzetta, MS Natural Resources, MS Nursing

Environmental educator with a passion for teaching youth using the science of awe. Traveler, Photographer, Author, Wife, Mother. Top Writer & Boosted Writer x3