8-Year-Old Shows Power of Speaking Up for Nature

from Wildlife Promise

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (right) signs a bill proposed by Jacob Robinson, 8, (left) on Tuesday. Photo Courtesy of the Governors Press Office

As the Maryland General Assembly wrapped this week there was a bill signing that was important for us conservationists because it addressed an important issue – Invasive Plant Species.

For those of us parents who believe in connecting our kids with nature, the victory was even sweeter because the champion for the bill was a third grader named Jacob Robinson.

Eight-year-old Jacob not only came up with the idea for the bill, he testified before both House and Senate committees before the bill was passed. He also was there this week when Mayor Martin O’Malley signed the bill into law.

Now I don’t know 8-year-old Jacob, but I would imagine if invasive plant species are of interest to him, he must spend a good deal of time outdoors. Somewhere along the way he noticed a problem, invasive plants, and thought of a solution. With the help of his Dad, and many advocates gathered along the way, he was able to make his solution a reality for Maryland consumers.

Under the new law, a committee will be formed to select which plant species are considered invasive. Some plants will be effectively banned, while others will be marked as invasive for consumers to make an educated purchase.

I’m a parent who believes in our Be Out There campaign because I know the benefits of unstructured outdoor play include raising children who are more likely to be creative problem solvers. Jacob proves that point.

Taking our love of nature and turning it into action to preserve it – this is a lesson for us all, no matter what age.

NOTE:  Many invasive plants outcompete the native species favored by birds, insects and other wildlife. Check with your local U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension System office for information on plant species to avoid. Find your local Cooperative Extension System office.

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