In the past I have done this in conjunction with Rachael Zoe Miller and Jeff Brock for our Rozalia Project Kite Missions but this was the first time I have gone in by myself which was all fine until a few minutes before and I realized I was a little nervous to talk to 12 year olds for an hour. Luckily 11th Hour Racing had put together a great slide show with me and so the discussion went well. One of the things I always like about these discussion is to see what resonates with the students. In this case it was our brief discussion on MicroBeads. Being that the students are just shy of teenagers I asked how many of them used a face wash that advertised "Exfoliating Scrub" or similar. Nearly all the girls raised their hands. Then I asked him many of them realized they were washing their faces with tony plastic balls. The look of shock on their faces was extraordinary, they had no idea. "That's Disgusting!" was my favorite comment from one girl, and you know what she is right it is disgusting. Overall it was great to talk to the students about how very small changes in their lives can have a huge impact. What if every kid refused a straw? What if every adult passed on the plastic top for their coffee or the stirrer in their drink? Easy solutions like this add up and make a difference and I didn't think about them until nearly as much as I should have until I started working with people like Jenny Lybeck and Alessandra Ghezi at 11th Hour Racing and Rachael Zoe Miller at Rozalia Project. I have a huge amount of respect and gratitude for the work they put in every day.
In the coming year we will be expanding our school outreach programs and hopefully I can keep learning as much as the kids are. Thanks again to Newport Public Schools.