Posted: March 28, 2019 | Author: Carson Wiesenborn, Yorkshire Academy 5th Grader

I love football, I love hamburgers, and I love everything to do with marine life!

SEEDS (Students Engaging the Environment through Discovery and Science) is a program created at Yorkshire Academy (a private Pre-K though 5th school in West Houston). During lunchtime on Fridays, dedicated students give up their lunch period to learn about our world and environment, with a special emphasis on marine life. According to many of my fellow Yorkshire Academy students, it’s the greatest program the school has ever had!

The program was founded by Mrs. Jacqui Stanley. Mrs. Stanley currently holds the education seat on the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Flower Garden Banks Council. She is also a trained SCUBA diver, published children’s book author, and has friends in many cool professions. Mrs. Stanley’s connections have allowed us the opportunity to visit the many places that would have otherwise been inaccessible to kids of our age. We’ve had the opportunity to visit NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab, the NOAA sea turtle rescue facility, and the NOAA Flower Gardens Marine Sanctuary education center.

We have also had unique opportunities to showcase our knowledge and learn from others through trips to Lone Star Community College, Rice University science labs, and the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary council meeting. As an elementary student, teaching college students is a strange experience because you’re talking to people twice your age and size!

During our weekly meetings, approximately 30 SEEDS students learn about ocean life and the environment through PowerPoint presentations and special projects. Currently, our group is working on a television commercial to encourage protection of the oceans and brainstorming design ideas for a sea turtle for the Galveston Island “Turtles About Town” sculpture series. Our SEEDS group has sparked the interest for several science fair projects this year—from an attempt at a water filtration device cheaper than current models to water quality testing from around the Houston area.

Every year, new SEEDS come and go. This May, the current 5th grade class (my class) will graduate. Among us are ten dedicated SEEDS. These ten students will be planted in new schools around the Houston area and the world. We will carry our knowledge and knowledge gained in the SEEDS program with us; and we hope to spark interest in our new schools and even create similar programs there. The remaining students also hope to create similar programs at other area public and private elementary schools.

On a personal note, I believe Mrs. Stanley is an amazing teacher. She not just teaches SEEDS at Yorkshire Academy, but also art and writing. That is why those are some of my favorite subjects. I have always loved wildlife, but Mrs. Stanley brought out my specific love for the ocean. Turtles, sharks, marine mammals (cetaceans), and mollusks, I love everything having to do with the ocean. SEEDS makes me happy because it lets me know other people share my love of the largest biome of our planet.

Read a blog post by Mrs. Jacqui Stanley: