By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
PALM CITY -- Twenty-five students from Palm City Elementary took a stand for the Indian River Lagoon and their message made it all the way to the White House.
The Palm City Elementary School Green Team, a group of kindergarten to fifth grade students who care about the health of the environment, just couldn't sit by and do nothing when their team leaders, teachers Brooking Bullock and Rita Kryzda, shared with them the plight of the St. Lucie River.
"It is one of the most unique, bio-diverse places on earth and we're killing it," Ms. Bullock, K-5 science teacher said. "Our mission at Palm City is to educate our kids about our world and environment and be conscious about the things we can do to improve it and spread that word."
The students just had one question: what could they do to help?
The idea they came up with was a simple one: a grassroots letter writing campaign. They would draw pictures and write brief letters to the president then send them to the White House. One letter, written by a kindergarten student, read simply, "Quit messing up our rivers, it is not funny."
But it didn't seem like enough, so the teachers reached out to Mark Perry at the Florida Oceanographic Society and he recommended getting in touch with Congressman Patrick Murphy.
To Ms. Bullock's surprise, they got a call back from the Congressman's office saying he'd like to meet up with the young river advocates over the weekend. That Saturday in Downtown Stuart, Ms. Bullock, Ms. Kryzda and Palm City Elementary Principal Nancy Marin joined him with a handful of students who were thrilled to meet him.
"He really seemed to take the kids seriously," Ms. Bullock said.
He even asked the students to read their letters aloud to him.
"It was very, very cool. It really validates what they did," said Ms. Bullock.
The general level of excitement was raised even more when Congressman Murphy offered to personally transport the letters to the White House.
"We never expected them to be hand-delivered to Washington," Ms. Bullock said.
But delivered they were and Congressman Murphy even sent the Green Team a photo of himself with a handful of letters in front of the White House Seal.
Ms. Bullock couldn't be happier with the outcome.
"The kids are our future. They did something that mattered and people paid attention to it," Ms. Bullock said.
She hopes that the students will hear back from the President, but until then, they'll keep up the work they've been doing for years, participating in county-wide cleanup projects, monitoring school recycling programs, planting vegetables in school gardens, and building solar-powered birdbaths out of recycled materials.
Ms. Bullock is just happy that they got a chance to learn first-hand that if they voice their opinions and take a stand, they might just make a difference.