I am often asked about the name of our organization, Snowy Plover Summer Camps. While the story behind the name is much longer than this blog post, the name of the camp is inspired by time at the beach where these cute little shorebirds live.
When my family moved to the Santa Barbara area eight years ago, everything was new and magical, as we have never lived near the coast. The sights, sounds, and even smells were all new. Years later, we continue to love to spend walking on the beach, especially near the Goleta Bluffs and Sands Beach. While we beach-comb and watch for dolphin and maybe the occasional whale, we noticed that several areas of the beach were restricted as these areas are nesting sites for the threatened snowy plover.
Wanting to know more led my family to read, learn, and understand more about the snow plover. We didn't realize how low the birds' population had become and how their nests and chicks are so small and well camouflaged that unintentional acts were causing damage. Our hearts were won when we were able to see some snowy plover chicks running on the beach.
So, did we choose the name because the birds are cute? Well, I might just have to say yes, but of course, there is more. I am inspired that these birds are making a comeback due to human intervention and doing what is right to adjust the conditions for the birds to thrive. Staying away from nesting areas, keeping dogs leashed, and maintaining a lookout for the birds are all steps that have helped the population grow.
I feel this is a metaphor about how good learning communities operate, doing what is right by students as they learn and grow. Like so many, I celebrate the recent success of the snowy plover, and also like many great teachers, I also love celebrating student achievements. Persistence combined with quality lessons and experiences leads to success, and I love the confidence earned by accomplishing something that was once difficult. Many educators speak of students having "lightbulb moments" when clarity and understand suddenly strike, and when these moments begin to accumulate, transformational learning takes place.
A caring community, doing right by students and families, that's what high-quality education is to me. And seeing those cute snowy plovers reminds me that by working together, we all achieve success. That combined effort is inspirational to me!
Have a wonderful week!
Be sure to check out the snowy plover photos from this week at Sands Beach!