Tag Archives: Crystal Lucas

Give A Penny or a Thousand, Please Support the Kidz Workbook Event, SRL/IRL

All are invited to attend the River Kidz  Workbook Event Fundraiser
All are invited to attend the River Kidz Workbook II Event Fundraiser

The river is for everyone, especially for kids!

This has been the theme of the River Kidz who since 2011 have been following their self-created mission: “to speak out, get involved and raise awareness because we believe kids should have a voice in the future of our rivers.”

As you may know, River Kidz is a grass-roots group that began with two 5th grade girls in the Town of Sewall’s Point and today includes hundreds of kids who attend local events, follow the Kidz on Facebook, and receive a monthly newsletter through their parent organization, the Rivers Coalition. Groups also sprouted up in St Lucie County and across the state in Lee County. These kids have had a great effect on water quality and St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon issues along our Treasure Coasts and statewide.

To help educate kids and parents, workbooks came out through a collaboration of adults and Kidz in 2013 focusing on the effects of releases from  C-23, C-24, C-44 and discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

This year, in 2014, the Jensen Beach High School Marine II Honors Class of Mrs Crystal Lucas, reworked the workbook, really entirely redoing it, with more depth of ideas on the canal and Lake Okeechobee problems focusing on the story of Marty the Manatee and his friends and the steady destruction of the rivers over time. New artwork from artist Julia Kelly helps tell the story. The new workbook is more sophisticated and meets Sunshine and Core Standards and most important for the Martine II students, has a mascot to lead the little kids, “Marty the Manatee.” Yes, Marty is based on the student’s  experiences with our local Indian Riverkeeper, Mr Marty Baum!

Due to teacher, Mrs Lucas, the Martine II students over a two-year period had exposure to speakers from the Army Corps of Engineers; South Florida Water Management District;  and took field trips to Lake Okeechobee and to the Everglades Coalition meetings among other things. Their depth of study is reflected in the new workbooks. Many of these students will be returning from university for this fundraiser event and to “see” their work published.

The coolest thing of all is that the River Kidz Workbook, Second Edition, is a collaboration of kids teaching kids. The Martin County School District has supported this effort and the plan is to share the workbooks in each second grade classroom in the county. Other workbooks will be shared in other grades and in private and independent schools as well, but second grade is the primary focus.

The final books are not yet printed as the group is raising money. The total costs for around 6000 workbooks is around $10,000 dollars. The books are beautiful full color, around 35 pages, and come with a completion certificate that “makes each kid a River Kid.”

The River Kidz and Adultz overseeing the project are confident they can raise this money as the did for the first workbook. It must be noted that Southeastern Printing of Port Salerno and the Mader family,  have made it possible to print these workbooks at a much lower cost.

We hope that you will attend the November 15th Fundraiser from 4-7PM at Bluewater Editions located at 4665 SE Dixie Highway, Port Salerno, and donate what you can. ALL ARE INVITED!!

We will be joined by artist/photographers Justin Riney, Julia Kelly, and Mike Hoffman.  There will be food and drink, live music, games, artwork for sale, and the River Kidz trademark lemonade stand.

A penny; a dollar; ten; twenty or a thousand…When Marjorie Stoneman Douglas started “Friends of the Everglades” each student gave a quarter and  this is what made the organization work–  EVERYONE WAS PART! This is what we wish to recreate.

So give what you can and come!  Put your money in the  jar by the door! All who donate will be recognized and thanked. Giving something is more important than how much you give.

Fundraising aside, the River Kidz want everyone in the community to be a part of this grassroots effort to save our rivers. I am including some pages of the rough draft so you can see what is “around the corner,” and so you hopefully will be inspired to give.

For me, this project is the “best of the very best” of what will, and already is, creating  a better future for our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. 

Rough Draft of Cover
Rough Draft of Cover
Page of authors: Mrs Lucas' JBHS Marine Biology students, 2013
Page of authors: Mrs Lucas’ JBHS Marine Biology students, 2013
First page of Chapter 1of 4
First page of Chapter 1of 4
Food web
Food web
Sample of questions and artwork
Sample of questions and artwork
Marty and friends
Marty and friends
What you can do!
“How you Can Help!


River Kidz is a division of the Rivers Coalition: (http://riverscoalition.org) 

Artist Julia Kelly and the Second Edition River Kidz’ Workbooks, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Artist Julia Kelly's beautiful artwork will be featured in the River Kidz Second Edition Workbook. Her work was also featured in the first edition. (Photo 2014.)
Local artist, Julia Kelly’s vibrant artwork will be featured in the River Kidz second edition workbook. Her work was also featured in the first edition in 2013. (Julia Kelly, Photo, 2014.)

In 2013, the first edition of the River Kidz workbook was produced with help from Mary Anne Conrad, teacher at Jensen Beach Elementary, Nic Mader, River Mom and Dolphin Ecology Project, Julia Kelly, artist, (http://juliakellyart.com), input from the “Kidz,” and me, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.

The workbooks were a great success and shared in many of the Martin and St Lucie County elementary and middle school classrooms.

Cover of River Kidz, "Paradise is Home"  workbook, first edition. Artwork by Julia Kelly, 2013.
Cover of River Kidz, “Paradise is Home” workbook, first edition. Artwork by Julia Kelly, 2013.

(In case you have not seen the first edition,  electronic copies are available  at (http://riverscoalition.org) at the bottom of the page.)

Now, in 2014-2015, a second edition will be released. Exciting! But what’s the difference and why so soon?

Well, long story short, one of the projects that master-teacher Crystal Lucas did with her Jensen Beach High School (JBHS) Marine Biology II Class last year, during the LOST SUMMER, was a “rework” of the first edition workbooks. The idea was to have the older kids teaching the younger kids. A collaborative effort and from their perspective.

River Kidz was started by two fifth grade girls in the Town of Sewall’s Point in 2011, Evie Flaugh and Naia Mader. The power of the movement is that it comes from kids. The overseeing adults of River Kidz wanted to keep that theme going, but to bring it to a new level.

The JBHS students were in a position to do this because with Crystal’s leadership they had had extensive studies of the Everglades, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in reference to discharges from Lake Okeechobee and the local canals, C-23; C-24 and C-25.  This education involved attending the Everglades Coalition Conference, studies with the Everglades Foundation, air boat rides in Lake Okeechobee with legends Nat Reed and Maggie Hurchalla/SFWMD, classroom visits by the Army Corp of Engineers’ Lt. Col. Thomas Greco, Marty Baum, the Indian Riverkeeper and many local and state elected officials including myself.

The students even won first place in the Keep Martin Beautiful Environmental Stewardship Awards  for their work on water issues!

Concerning the rewrite of the workbook’s first edition, the JBHS students decided first and foremost that there needed to be a mascot and a story.  They determined the mascot should be named , “Marty the Manatee,” and yes, this was inspired by none other than Mr Marty Baum! (http://www.indianriverkeeper.org)

So artist Julia Kelly was task to come up with a character and she did, even though she refused to put a mustache on Marty as the students requested because she felt “we needed to be wary of anthropomorphizing the animals.” The steering committee agreed, and Marty was born! 🙂

"Marty the Manatee" by artist Julia Kelly, 2014.
“Marty the Manatee” by artist Julia Kelly, 2014.

Through the JBHS students’ eyes, Marty tells the story of his ancestors’ former home in all its glory with the mythical Pond Apple Swamp at the southern rim of Lake Okeechobee, clean rivers, and a life with animal friends throughout the northern and southern Everglades.  He then goes into today’s struggle with overdevelopment, agriculture, sugar and agribusiness south of the lake, polluted water discharges, redirection of  water into the St Lucie/IRL and Calooshatchee from Lake Okeechobee, and other drainage canals, loss of seagrass, algae blooms and friend “die-offs.”  He gives ideas for a better, cleaner world and a happier future. There is hope! And that hope lies in the River Kidz, the future….

Marty the Manatee with all of his river friends. Julia Kelly, 2014.
Marty the Manatee with all of his river friends. Julia Kelly, 2014.
Apple Pond Forest.
Apple Pond Forest.

The workbooks will be a beautiful collaboration of student and artistic ideas that are sure to inspire generations to come. The goal is to have a fundraiser-grand-release party in November at Blue Water Editions, a division of Southeastern Printing, the invaluable local company that  will be printing the workbooks.

The workbooks are a collaboration, and River Kidz is a division of the Rivers Coalition. The steering committee consist of Nichole Mader, Crystal Lucas, Valerie Gaynor, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Blue Water’s Jason Leonard.

Donations are welcome!

Bumperstickers promoting the workbook are available at Blue Water Editions, located at 4665 Se Dixie Highway, Port Salerno. (http://www.bluewatereditions.com)

More information will be forthcoming. But for now, enjoy the artwork and remember ALL KIDZ (and ADULTZ)  are River Kidz!

Our mission is to “speak out, get involved, and raise awareness, because we believe kids should have a voice in the future of our rivers!”

Marty eating, swimming and thinking…
Marty the wonderful and friendly manatee!
Marty with friends and family discussing wounds from boat hits, polluted water, and lack of seagrass…teaching the kids how to build a better world for him and the kids through creating a better water environment.