MIAMI – Just days before Christmas, students in Ms. Martin’s 4th-grade class at The Cushman School in Miami aren’t reading letters to Santa but postcards they wrote and recently sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
They urge the leaders to do whatever it takes to save Biscayne Bay.
“My school is right next to the bay and its health is important to me,” 4th-grader Amelia Gomez said. “Please continue to help our bay.”
“People listen to you, so tell them to stop using nitrogen fertilizer,” classmate Marlo Sohn added.
And Joaquin Magdalena: “The bay is our home, and we need to protect it.”
Their teacher encouraged the students to write their leaders after her class became concerned about what’s been happening to our bay and all the pollution that’s killing it.
“I think there’s a lot of students here who really care about the environment,” Melissa Martin said. “They’re mostly living in it.”
One student, Carter Bromfield, recalled walking at the park and “I literally saw a lot of dead fish a pufferfish and a stingray.”
Those experiences are motivating these young minds to learn more about the science behind it all.
They’re watching the “Don’t Trash Our Treasure” stories we’ve been reporting on Local 10 News.
“I actually watch the show,” Martin said, “and I just thought it would be a good thing to share with the kids.”
And the youngsters get it, understanding the dramatic loss of seagrass we’re seeing in the bay and the challenges our ecosystem now faces because of it.
“The more we pollute, the more it disappears, the more fish die,” 4th-grader Charlie Singer said.
“We need the seagrass for the manatees because the manatees are running out of food,” classmate Cooper Ross added.
At just 9 years old, they know what’s at stake. And so a science lesson also becomes a lesson in civics.
“They will be the ones most impacted by what happens in the future,” Martin said. “They have to realize that they do have the power, to make the changes that they want to see made.”
So, for now, they write.
More than just postcards, they’re actually setting their intentions for the future they want to see. Despite their young age, they are the agents of change to make it happen.
“I’d like for Miami-Dade County to have more dolphins, fish, oyster, turtles, manatees,” 4th-grader Nicolas Alfonso wrote. “Also, I would wish for no more trashy water.”
So far the students have yet to receive a response to their postcards. They say that’s OK, as their message to our leaders is received loud and clear.