To the Coosa River,
You have shown me how precious & vital you are to our environment but more importantly to the community members who use you. Over my year of service, I have had the pleasure to hear how important your presence is to the community. You have given us a sense of peace, love, and appreciation for water, the environment, and Alabama waterways. Coosa, you have given me some of my first experiences. Experiences that I never thought would have interested me, but as I paddled the beginning of Moccasin Gap and I looked left and right I couldn’t picture anything more beautiful than what my eyes looked upon for the entirety of the paddle. You embrace so much character and poise. Though you have been through a multitude of adversities, you have continued to prevail beyond the trials and tribulations. Coosa you have taught me to not only protect & respect you, but all bodies of water around the world. Coosa River you have presented me with a deeper appreciation for the environment & how significant you are to my happiness, my life, and my health.
To Coosa Riverkeeper Staff,
In the Spring of 2022, you guys partnered with universities around the watershed to provide service learning opportunities for students like me. Coosa’s staff partnered with Talladega College’s Ecology course to undergo water quality monitoring training as well as learning about careers in conservation. Myself along with my classmates knew very little information about water quality monitoring, environmental justice, and conservation. Despite our lack of knowledge you guys didn’t mind answering our cretinous & crazy questions. Months later, I began an AmeriCorps position as the Field Education Coordinator at Coosa Riverkeeper. I have had the pleasure to learn a plethora of information about environmental education, applying for funding, program management, & more beyond my job description. I am forever grateful!!! I have met & connected with so many positive people that have invested their time into my future. People that can’t wait to see you thrive and elevate above your current state. Again, forever grateful! Working along Coosa Riverkeeper’s staff has been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, in a professional, emotional, and mental aspect. This group of people showed their selflessness, loyalty, and love since June 7, 2022 and their willingness to help achieve any goal that I had set for myself and the Education Program. At the start of my service I had no experience building a program, applying for funding, or environmental work. As we progressed as an organization & program I am proud to say that we have three environmental Education children’s programs and workshops free of charge. These programs allow children throughout the Coosa’s watershed to experience & learn about conservation and experience the natural world. Everyday you guys work diligently to “protect, promote, and restore” our River. Thank you for showing me that it is not about the obstacle, it’s all about your approach. Thank you for being that shoulder I needed to cry on. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to evolve & grow with this organization. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to evolve & grow as a person. Thank you for all the connections I’ve made with the multitude of great human beings that I have met through fundraising events, boat rides, presentations & more. Thank you for being the people who guided me right, when I went left. Thank you for allowing me to express my vision. Thank you for your support. Thank you for giving me the challenges that I needed to excel higher. Thank you for providing a professional safe space for each and every person that walks through all SIX of our doors at the office (LOL). Thank you for the kind words when days were hard.
Post college graduation, I have heard many people tell their stories about their first year out of college and what they’ve experienced, and let’s just say I was not stoked to face any of the adversities that people experienced. I was filled with fear, uncertainty, doubt, and a million other feelings that possessed my mind. The Coosa Staff gave me a sense of comfort, determination, and courage. I will forever be grateful for these one of a kind people that I have encountered. “You know in life as you meet people, they will have a before but not everyone has an after”. Coosa, I thank you for my “after”! You have helped shape & mold me into the person I am today!
Your newest Earth & Space Science Teacher
David Jones III