A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF CHANGING LIVES THROUGH NATURE

I believe that my passion for nature and environmental education began when I was a little girl, the daughter of a keen nature lover who believed that our garden should always be neat and tidy, that poinsettias and hydrangeas are the best plants, litter belongs in the dirt-bin and that it is a place of learning and relaxation for all.

After entering my Grade 4 class in a Jellybean Journal competition about the seashore, way back in 1989 and winning it, my enthusiasm for nature blossomed and that feel-good factor excited me. I was then asked to run the environmental club at our school.

Running an environmental club, completing the syllabus and involvement in sports is quite challenging. It is also not easy to get all hands on board but I stood up to the challenge and the wow-factor and acknowledgements after completing projects spurred me on. Children learned that gardening means patience, beauty and harvesting. I turned a deaf ear to all negativity from all quarters even though the ridicule and insults (from the community too) disturbed me but I knew what my goal was and I remained focused. In the end, all were full of praise for what had been achieved and for the knowledge that they had gained.

My passion keeps me busy in the classroom, outside and even away from the school long after teachers and cleaners have left the premises. Many of my holidays and weekends are sacrificed for the children to take them out on camps, outings or attended workshops. I want to change peoples’ mindset with regards to creation. I want them to see the big picture. It is hard work but I feel I am making a difference.

-Ms. Chee Mee