River Kidz Grow Up; the River the Same. St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

River Kidz founders Evie Flaugh and Naia Mader, 2011.
River Kidz founders Evie Flaugh and Naia Mader, 2011.
River Kidz 2015.
River Kidz 2015.(Photo Nic Mader.)

“Time flies”… “Time waits for no one”… “Time is of the essence”….

There are hundreds of sayings about time, and none of them can truly encompass its passage and what it feels like to know it is slipping away….

Having no children of my own, I am dependent on the children of others to really see time “fly.” As time seems to fly fastest when it comes to children turning into adults–right before our eyes, while  we of course feel “exactly the same…”

I deeply believe that all kids are River Kidz!

The two closest to me are my niece Evie Flaugh, and Naia Mader, two Town of Sewall’s Point girls that founded River Kidz in 2011 when I was mayor. Sometimes they come and visit me. These are some of my favorite days. When they visit, I am struck by how they are changing. They are growing up. They are becoming women.

“10ish” years old when their endeavor started, I think they are now both “15.” Three months apart. Evie is a bit older but they are in different grades. I can’t keep up actually. But I do know they were both once well below my shoulder and they now stand almost a full foot taller than me. I noticed recently, when I sat on the bench with them for a picture, that my feet hardly reached the ground. Their knees were bent…

I look at them in awe.

“Was I that young once?

I was, and boy did want to be older…. This I remember.

Things are going to start changing even more quickly.

They will be driving soon….Gulp….

And where have “we” all driven the river since 2011? The St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is in really in the about same predicament it was in 2011. In some areas worse.  A lot has happened, and good has been achieved, however, the biggest killer, discharges from canals C-23, C-24, C-25, C-44 and Lake Okeechobee will continue to slowly kill the river with no end in sight, because our state in is denial of the depth and timing of our pollution and water crisis. They think we have 30 years…Oh let’s make that 50 years….no  100….

However awareness is high. As Amendment 1 and our local River Movement has shown, the public is pushing for change;  and not giving up. WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS even though it seems sometimes it may take forever, or that we will return to our maker not having achieved the goal.

I am certain that one day there will be substantive positive change for the Indian River and all of Florida’s precious waters. There must be in order for the state to survive. To feed this change and the human will for survival which requires clean water, we must continue to put “gas in the car,” or better yet, use solar energy—- we have to keep making “River Kidz out of kids.” We have to keep driving.

One day soon, these kids will take the wheel of life.  I am confident they will drive with more care than previous generations did;  they will do all they can to navigate the crash we will be leaving them.

The River Kidz, Naia and Evie, they  inspire me. But my heart aches for them. For them we must work harder to change the tide of legislative and agency complacency. We must make more people realize that we do not have 30 years. We have now.

RK artwork 2013
RK artwork 2013

River Kidz is a division of the Rivers Coalition: (http://riverscoalition.org)
River Kidz: (http://riverscoalition.org/riverkidz/)
Photos/mixed on-line: (http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=river+kidz&qpvt=river+kidz&qpvt=river+kidz&FORM=IGRE)

14 thoughts on “River Kidz Grow Up; the River the Same. St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. When hurricane Charley hit in Tampa ALL the sea grass came back like it was in the 40s —the fishing too. Around 2006 after hurricanes Francis and Gene ripped into low lieing calcium roads and other calcium deposits millions of fish and oysters came out of nowhere. Pretty soon those girls will be starting familys of their own and I hope their husbands will allways know they can provide food from what was once our most abundant and precious resource—the lagoon.

    1. I don’t know where Brent gets his information, but he is wrong on several counts. Hurricane Charley did not hit Tampa Bay (it hit Port Charlotte, where Lake O sends its poison via the Caloosahatchee River, and the Caloosahatchee and Charlotte Harbor Estuary are the polluted equivalent of the IRL, if not worse).

      Where I live in St. Petersburg we got some 40-50mph winds as Charley moved toward Orlando. The seagrass and fishing are not restored in Tampa Bay. Seagrass is making a slow but steady comeback thanks to Tampa Bay Watch and other organizations,but it is a loooong way from where it was in the 50’s when I grew up here.

  2. LOVE IT JTL!!!! How heartwarming !!! Just a correction – Evie is 15 and Naia almost 15 – just so it seems like RKidz has been at it longer LOL!!!

  3. Today I asked a young man on the Melbourne fishing pier if anyone was catching anything. He said yesterday a guy caught a 3 foot long specald trout. You can bring the lagoon back to the way it was in the 40s and it will only take a year or 2 if people there role up their sleves and get to work.

  4. Thaks for putting up with me even though our views were different I believe our dream of a healthy lagoon is the same. Channel 9 news had a segment on the lagoon so I contacted them and in a short statement exsplained the situation. If they catact me back I will ask them to read the comments on this blog. Thanks again and I hope you are as excited as I am.

  5. Its true I don’t live in Tampa but I do see what is happening here . Last week I put calcium sand (shell)in front of our lagoon house and now birds and fish are everywhere. But this is nothing new. I have seen it many times.

  6. Miss Desotto that heads our lagoon house stood up in front of everyone at one meeting and said they could not say if a state funded project was not working or else the state would cut their funding. The whales at sea world do all kinds of tricks but they also get paid in fish. I think maby the state government thinks we are like the whales at sea world. Stalin—one of the wordls most ruthless dictators once said those who cast the votes decide nothing—those who count the votes decide everything. I would like to refraise this for todays world—those who have the money decide everything—those who have no money decide NOTHING. Now the big question is, is theTampa Bay Watch sea grass restoration project a state funded project?

  7. If I am wrong in my information Sweet Pea I stand corrected but we have some serious differences on our opinion on what has happened and how to save our lagoon. So serious that I feel I am trying to educate people and many others are trying to brainwash people. You can see how delicate the balance is with the plight of the snail kite. Change the environment just a little bit so the apple snail dies off and the snail kite is history. I am saying that the environment that all the creatures in the lagoon evolved to thrive in was drasticly changed when Henry Flagler removed all the SOFT coquina rock in 1900 and the rest was used to pave US 1 in 1925—compound this with all the nitric acid from cars boats and planes and then those who have the attention of the media brainwashing everbody and saying the thing they need to do to finish the lagoon off are actually saveing it —you can see the big picture.

  8. I think Ronald Regan said it best when he said—-the closest thing to eternal life on this earth is a government funded project.

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