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?!

40!!!!

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know I’ve been partnering with Tennessee State parks. Recently, I went to Tim’s Ford, Edgar Evans & Rock island state park and now officially have 40 monofilament receptacles out! I am so excited this program is really taking off and spreading across our state. Our watersheds will be a little safer from excess fishing line and now it can properly be taken care of and recycled.

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!

GLOBAL RECYCLING DAY

GLOBAL RECYCLING DAY
This is my simple recycling concept in under 10 seconds!

You can change the world your own way. This is one way I feel liken making a difference and I have some super exciting news coming in a few weeks! So many more of these monofilament receptacles are going out with the help of individuals, grants and money I’ve made from recycling.

1 TON!

A few weeks ago, after almost a year of work on aluminum can recycling , I hit the 1 TON mark! I keep track of how many pounds each time I take them to be recycled and it took 10 months to recycle 1 ton of aluminum.

The cans I pick up are from Play.Wash.Pint. A local dog play park where people meet, gather, hang out and their dogs can play in a safe space. This Business hated to see all of this potential just to the trash so I partnered with them and pick up all their aluminum and some plastic for recycling. The money I make from these cans goes to make my monofilament bins that are placed along the Tennessee River. There are now 17 out and I couldn’t have done it without this partnership. If you have an idea, and don’t know where to start or how to find it, look in the trash, who knows, you may find an idea? And you can help the planet too!

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!

Youth Ocean Conservation Summit

I was so excited to be able to present about my grant and progress over the last year. I have invested time and a lot of energy to help save the Tennessee River.

The Tennessee River is the most polluted with microplastics than any other river in the world tested to date. I believe some of these microplastics are from fishing line and monofilament because w shave huge fishing tournaments here which generate millions of dollars. This also means fishing line waste while anglers are busy and the broken line gets tossed in the trash.

I’ve started monofilament recycling and now have 10 receptacles placed along the river.

I can’t wait to see what next year brings and how I can further my projects.