Tennessee Environmental Network Show of the South

Last week, I was invited to the Tennessee Environmental Network Show of the South by Commissioner Salyers with TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation).

This conference was attended by people in environmental and sustainability roles in large businesses, NGO’s, and government. Meeting and learning from these people was such an inspiring and uplifting because these are the people making real change in our state and region.

I was able to speak about recycling and NGO’s and how everyone can make a difference. We cannot rely on government entities to be the ones who care about our environment. It’s everyone’s job, including yours. What we do in a daily basis is what matters.

I met with not only local leaders but national leaders. People with the EPA know my name and my story. How amazing is that?!

Visit to Capital Hill

Rally day for homeschoolers was in Nashville last week. This is an amazing way for young people to see how our government works first hand and I had the best day!

Not only did I see how our legislative processes work but I was able to meet with so many of my states influential leaders. My State Representative, Greg Vital of district 29 took his whole day to show me around and introduce me to some of the wonderful people leading Tennessee.

I learned SO MUCH, not only about government but our state in general. A special thank you to Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, State Comptroller and TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) for taking time out of their busy day to have just another Tennessee kid share my love for our state!

Tennessee State Parks

Recently, I’ve been contacting Tennessee State Parks and have now partnered with 4 to place monofilament recycling bins. These 14 bins placed between Booker. T Washington, Fall Creek Falls, Harrison Bay, & South Cumberland State park will collect fishing line to reduce this waste in our rivers and landfills. So happy to be able to work on this project which is funded by a grant from Youth Serving America & Hillshire Farms. How special, all of these were placed on World Water Day!

Kid of the Year

Although I didn’t win overall “Kid of the Year”, I feel extremely honored to have even made top 5 with so many amazing kids. There were thousands nominated and to be in the top for those kids, all trying to change the world in their one way and doing amazing things, was humbling.

I have never tried to gain attention for myself but just try to bring attention to our planet and what we need to do collectively to make a difference and heal our blue planet we call home. Everyone can make a difference, you have to decide if it’s good or bad.

Thank you to Time Magazine and Nickelodeon for considering me for such an award. Words can never express how grateful I am that the great state of Tennessee and the Tennessee River were brought nationwide attention that it so desperately needs.

Yearly wrap up

This year has been busy but so fun! I’ve been scuba diving several times with my best friends! (Does it really get any better than that?!)

I have removed about 4,000 more pounds of trash bringing the total to 14,000! I hit the 1 ton mark in aluminum recycling! Ella & I won a few awards but best of all…. we were able to be together and meet Sylvia Earle!!!!

Stay tuned for next year….. it’s going to start off with a bang.

Winter the Dolphin

This morning I woke up to the news Winter the dolphin that has been at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium has died. This hurt my heart so much. I had the great pleasure to see Winter more than once and her story really touched me.

She was injured by a crab trap that was left behind and she was entangled causing irreversible damage to her tail which ended up having to be amputated. She was found and cared for by the amazing team at Clearwater Marine Hospital.

Their motto is rescue, rehab and release but a dolphin missing her entire tail flukes, is obviously unreleasable so that’s where she stayed for 16 years. So many people heard her story and connected with her on such a deep level. She touched so many human lives than and truly changed hearts towards ocean animals.

Winter was harmed by humans and was forced to be removed from her home but on the other hand, humans saved her and took amazing care of her so we learned humans can make things better and do our part to care for our wildlife. We can do better. We can come together and make an impact for good. Let’s do something today for Winter!

Busy busy busy…..

This month has been super busy and it doesn’t look like next month is going to lighten up. I’m not complaining, I LOVE it. I love being able to raise more and more awareness for our great planet, for our waterways and our wildlife.

I was able to visit Yellowstone National Park as well as Grand Teton National Park and be immersed in wildlife and nature and it was such a beautiful time! Moose, Bear, Wolves, and Bison were all on my list and I saw all of them.

Ella & I, as The Cleanup Kids, were honored to be named in the top 25 for the prestigious Gloria Barron Prize for young heroes. When we hear if being just nominated for these awards, it confirms we are making a difference and our voices are being heard.

The same day, we also learned we are finalists for the GoBlue awards with the Loggerhead Marine Center in Florida. Ella & I have both been there and researched sea turtles and have even done full videos on turtles if you want to check it out in our YouTube channel.

I also have some other things in the works that I can’t say yet but it’s turning out to be an exciting year and I am so thankful for the support of my parents as well as the people who have given so much to help me learn and grow and pursue ocean and river conservation.

I know I’m just a kid, but we can make a difference! We can and WILL change the world!

Sammie Smiles Podcast

I did my first podcast interview and it happens to be with my friend and fellow Prudential spirit of community award winner. Go check it out and let m know what you think!

YouTube: https://youtu.be/AdQOySpgonQ

Apple podcast

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sammie-smiles/id1536338801?i=1000527870083

 

Spotify

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1FLq6bNiINA6982pEIdjQY?si=Vwiw5gqMTSqyRS5mnShZEA&dl_branch=1

President’s Volunteer Service Award.

I was shocked and surprised to be a recipient of this prestigious award. Volunteering, cleaning our planet of pollution is what makes me feel accomplished and I don’t do it for the awards or accolades but this one will be framed and I am proud of it. Just remember, anyone can make a difference!

Mananalu Water!

This article is from Mananula which is owned by Jason Mamoa who played Aquaman and is such an amazing strong voice for saving our oceans. It’s such an honor to be highlighted by such an amazing company!

https://www.mananalu.com/blogs/news/how-one-11-year-old-is-cleaning-up-our-oceans-from-tennessee