Dragon Boat Festival's Impact
Mobile Baykeeper (2017 Dragon Boat Festival grant recipient)
1. What impact did the Dragon Boat Grant have on your Strategic Watershed Awareness Program (SWAP)?
The generous Dragon Boat Grant propelled our Strategic Watershed Awareness Program (SWAP) into the classrooms (and outside of the classrooms) of children in Mobile and Baldwin County. SWAP was created to improve our youth’s understanding of a watershed and how our individual actions, such as littering, can make a big impact on our local waterways. So far with this support, we have been able to bring this education to more than 2,100 youth in our area. Students participating in SWAP sessions were able to partake in interactive learning and a presentation that introduced them to their local nature. This allowed them to understand their environment and how it supports our way of life, economy, and community.
The Dragon Boat grant has also permitted us to connect youth directly to their environment through an exciting Wild Native Delta Safaris of the biologically diverse Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Our first trip was with the boys from the Strickland Youth Center, where 40 young individuals ventured on a boat safari of the Delta. For many of them, this was their first time on the water. Having the opportunity to experience nature and see what they have in their own backyards fosters pride, care, and love for these beautiful natural resources.
2. How many student were you able to reach as a result of this? Do you think these students are now better educated about our local watersheds?
To date, we have educated more than 2,100 youth about our local watershed and have connected more than 40 of them directly to the watershed through boat tours. We have seen the initial “spark” grow from just a general interest in our presentation into palpable behavioral changes that reflect a personal responsibility and pride towards their local environment. Behavioral changes like these make a lasting impact on our community and the quality of our local waterways, a ripple that will continue to impact individuals for generations to come.
3. What does Dragon Boat Festival mean to your organization?
The Dragon Boat Festival is more than just fun and exciting – it is the gateway for making dreams a reality and needs fulfilled in our local community. We would like to thank all who participated in the Dragon Boat Festival last year for playing an important role in changing the youth in our community to care about nature and take pride in keeping it beautiful for all to enjoy. For those of you who have not participated in the Dragon Boat Festival, we encourage you to try it this year. It is full of fun and camaraderie, and most of all it is the spark needed to make a lasting impact in our community.