Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ann Masters in Her Own Words

This photo of Ann was taken at the most recent Clean Valley Council awards ceremony back in the fall. One of the awards I'm most proud of is the CVC Education Award she gave us several years ago. It was a Twist & Turns chair and it still sits in my office.^

On the Clean Valley Council’s Web site, you can get a pretty good idea of who Ann Masters was with her writings. She talks about her influences, her accomplishments, her goals and her joys in her introduction letter, written, I think, three years ago.

Ann’s contributions to the Roanoke Valley environmental movement were massive in the area of environmental education, but my favorite contribution, I think, is that she collected and listed places in the region that accept—and sometimes even pay for—recyclables, those things we don’t want to send to the landfill, but have thought we didn’t have a choice. That list is here.

Some of Ann’s words follow. They soothe on a snowy day.

“I have a VRA tote bag that says, ‘It is so easy to make a difference’ and it reminds me every day I can make a difference, and so can each of you, with small effortless habits.

“I used to speak of the [8] Rs: Reduce, Respect, Recycle, Reuse, Run-off (storm water), Replenish, Replant, Rethink . . .just some words I can think of to ‘re.’ I use these words to provoke your thoughts. Why do we do this thing, we environmentalists, for the planet? Or at least our own small part of the planet. …

“I believe part of my personal journey began on my grandfather’s farm in my childhood summers. I met the earth head on with animal care, picking from the kitchen garden and riding the plow horse to the creek for water at the end the day. My grandfather taught me to listen to find bee swarms. I’m sure I could still find the fox grapes.

“I believe we have little to do with our journey. Our life tapestry weaves itself as we work and play. If we listen this journey happens.

“Clean Valley offers classroom outreach for the broad diversity of the greater Roanoke Valley.

“Here in the gorgeous Blue Ridge, our currency is the student community. CVC’s talented educators through the years have inspired encouraged and demonstrated responsible waste management.

“Clean Valley initiated the first Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day with the Junior League of Roanoke Valley. We collected 30,000 used books for Kenya in the Books for Africa project with Cycle Systems and had Critters Don’t Need Litter come to the valley for the schools. Our office wrote three statewide grant proposals that provided the products for our peers across the commonwealth to take into the classrooms for students.

"One of the things we are most proud is the Earth Summit … it is a congress for junior and senior high representatives from all the high schools in the Valley.

“An unknown source once wrote, Measure your wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.”

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dan. You and Christine are right. Ann is eternal. May her words be read and taught for many more years.