~ Jackie Sherry, Water Conservation Graduate Assistant
This is by far the hardest blog I’ve ever had to write. How am I to summarize my two plus years working at the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office into a single blog post??? This is the most challenging task Marilyn has asked of me. I can tell you these two years have flown by. It seemed like just yesterday when I shadowed Laurie presenting the enviroscape activity at the East Athens Community Center for a group of summer camp kids. Little did I know, a few weeks later I would present that same activity to another group of summer camp kids and begin my journey of educating Athenians on water conservation.
Whenever someone asks me what I like best about my job, I always say the spontaneity of it. The Water Conservation Office constantly has school field trips, outreach activities, workshops, or community events scheduled. These take a lot of time and preparation to be successful. I walk into the office and was asked to do a variety of things including:
1. Build rain barrels for artists to paint for our Roll Out the Barrels event.
2. Play toilet toss trivia with middle school students for science nights.
3. Clean our green tree frog, Phileap’s, cage in preparation to educate students on keeping our waterways clean.
4. Make cricket cookies using real crickets for Save the Frogs Day.
5. Create resources for teacher’s to use in their classrooms (i.e. Water Drop Boxes).
6. Host Project WET Workshops to educate teachers on incorporating water related activities into their lesson plans.
7. Take students and adults for tours around the Drinking Water Treatment Plant and Water Reclamation Facilities.
8. Attend community events like AthFest, Green Life Expo, and River’s Alive…just to name a few.
9. Use social media to spread the word to Athenians about water conservation facts, trivia, and events.
10. Advertise, interview, hire, and oversee multiple interns.
When I accepted this graduate assistant-ship two years ago, I never thought I would have the opportunity to do all the things mentioned above, but I am so glad I did. These experiences have given me knowledge and confidence to continue a path in environmental education. This assistant-ship has allowed me to network and meet many wonderful water educators around Georgia.
Most importantly, I leave this assistant-ship with two amazing mentors and friends, Marilyn and Laurie. They inspired me to be confident in following my dreams and never giving up. They have guided me and given me incomparable advice for my future. I looked forward to going to work every day and that is all because of Marilyn and Laurie. They made work fun and enjoyable by giving me the freedom and flexibility to work on projects and events that suited my interests. They were always supportive of my thoughts and ideas (except for getting a pet snake for the office). I will truly miss working for these two incredible ladies, but I know the Water Conservation Office is in good hands with them. This office has amazed me with all of its awards and accomplishments and I know there will be plenty more to come. I am honored to have been part of such an incredible office with an even more amazing staff for the past two years!
Thank you so much for all the memories!