Rachel Carson Sense of Water Contest 2012


Guest blog post by Kathy Sykes

Kathy Sykes is a Senior Advisor in the Aging and Sustainability Office of Research and Development at the U.S. EPA



The 2012 Rachel Carson contest will focus on water, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The scientist and author, Rachel Carson, is the inspiration of the EPA’s Rachel Carson intergenerational contest. She wrote that for a child to keep alive an inborn sense of wonder, the companionship of at least one adult is needed to share and rediscover the joy, excitement and mystery of the world.

My friend’s daughter asked her brother what percent of the earth’s water was potable, or drinkable. He correctly guessed 1 percent. But then he said 1% is a lot of water bottles. She then asked me “Where water came from? I referred her to a kid’s site prepared by our Regional office in Kansas City.

Many of my favorite memories as a child were spent near water. It’s hard to decide where I have had the most fun and with whom I should team up and enter this contest.

One memory involves a family trip to Sanibel Island with my brother’s eldest children, Steven and Jessie. Steven was 3 at the time and Jessie was 4. They danced along the shore, playing ring around the rosie as the waves tickled their tiny toes and giggling constantly as they fell into the soft sand. That happy moment was captured by my mother and is my favorite photo. I can still taste the salty air and hear the gentle, lapping waves.

I think you get the idea. Find a partner or two, discover a place, somewhere you want to explore, or recall some place you’ve been. Share a story, a photo, a dance or poem, and enter the Sense of Water contest. It’s good for the heart— and soul. But don’t take my word for it—jump in and make a splash.

About the author: Kathy Sykes is working on sustainability, across the lifespan, in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is also representing EPA on the National Prevention Strategy. She launched the Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest 6 years ago with sponsoring organizations including Generations United, the Rachel Carson Council Inc, the Dance Exchange, and the National Center for Creative Aging.