Health-e Pro’s giving initiative, Health-e Giving was launched in the Spring of 2018 and one of our very own employees is making a difference on the Mill River Wetland Committee. Along with financial matching that employees contribute, Health-e Pro also matches volunteer hours that employees spend in an organization. This blog post explains how Lynn Shavinsky has made a difference in her community and how Health-e Pro has been fortunate enough to help support the organization where she has donated so much of her time
Lynn has been a part of the Mill River Wetland Committee in Fairfield, Connecticut for 10 years and continues to be involved in the growing program.
Continue reading to see how Lynn has made a difference!
Lynn: Mill River is a 50-year-old non-profit organization that provides environmental education for kids. We work with grades 3-7 in the local school district which has eleven elementary schools, three middle schools and three parochial schools. Every year 3,300 students participate in our hands-on field experience, with most of our lessons being right on the river or the estuary in town!
What is your involvement in the Mill River Wetland Committee?
The program is completely volunteer based, so I started as a parent nature guide when my son was in 3rd grade, about 10 years ago. Parent volunteers are trained by Mill River to guide small classroom groups through the science stations for each lesson at the river. I loved seeing the kids apply the environmental lessons they had learned in class to a real-life, local setting.
After that, I became completely immersed in the program, coordinating my son’s study-trips, volunteering for other schools’ study-trips, becoming a trainer for new guides and then coordinating the program for the whole district.
After 7 years of being involved in the hands-on education, I moved to the governing Board and became the president, which is the position I currently hold. Over the years, I have seen the program grow to become not only an environmental education source for children but also for our entire community! We offer nature walks, have provided education for open spaces, and are currently working on a speaker series about environmental factors impacting our coastal town.
What are some examples of the lessons provided to the kids?
We provide hands-on science education to supplement the classroom materials and lessons. One of our favorite lessons is when we create a model river. We discuss how the areas of a river are created and the functions they perform; then the students walk along the actual river to view and evaluate those real habitats. We also do a water cycle model where we recreate a natural and a developed landscape mimicking the areas of our town, to watch what happens to the water in each. We then look for evidence of concepts like water erosion and absorption in the natural state.
One of our water cycle models being shown with rainfall.
Students observing specimen of the river under a microscope.
Volunteers and students at the estuary performing a water test.
How has Health-e Pro supported Mill River Wetland Committee?
Since Health-e Pro has an employee matching program for hours, I was able to submit my volunteer time with Mill River to Health-e Pro. They then did a calculation for the equivalence of my time and converted it to a financial donation straight to Mill River Wetland Committee which will be used for us to update our curriculum to sync to the Next Generation Science Standards!
I am very grateful for the generous contribution from Health-e Pro. Health-e Pro’s commitment to its employees as well as so many charitable causes through Health-e Giving makes it a very special company. Their mission to leverage creativity, passion, and resources to impact children and families in our community and beyond is exactly what they have done for the Mill River Wetland Committee.