Little ripples, small seeds.

This is Ms. Joy Shaw. Back in the late 60s/early 70s, she was a mom with an idea: to take schoolkids out onto the trails by the Mill River, let us get muddy, show us tadpoles, and teach us about the watershed. And I was one of the schoolkids.

She told us stories about the land. She taught me how to be silent and listen to birdsong.

I lived for the “Mrs. Shaw Field Trip Days” at school.

Tiberius Shaw, in The Someday Birds, is named after Joy Shaw. I was an anxious, bewildered kid, back in those days, but I loved those hikes on the nature trails. They kind of rescued me.

I got to see Joy Shaw again for the first time in 40+ years. She is in her 80s and still extremely active in what is now a huge volunteer organization – the Mill River Wetlands Committee. It started with just her idea of taking a few kids out — one little ripple — and it grew. Thousands of Connecticut schoolkids now go through the MRWC program each year. (http://river-lab.org/) The corps of volunteers I met at our reception/booktalk were amazing.

That’s the thing about little ripples. Little seeds. You just never know.

Anyhow. It was such an honor to see Ms. Shaw again. She is an extremely special person.

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