"If you have a kid who's asking good questions, who is interested and fascinated, it might be the beginning of something," said Green, an education specialist at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park -- where every day is Earth Day.
The 1,100-acre park plays host to thousands of students and visitors each year, offering children what is almost always their inaugural opportunity to learn about reptiles, examine cattail leaves under a microscope or count macroinverterbrates in creek water.
Green, who holds ecology and animal science degrees from the University of Georgia and Rutgers University, hopes some of those visitors will take home an interest in the environment that will lead them to great careers and accomplishments.
"I think almost everyone who has gone into science, or something to do with the environment, can probably name one specific experience that got them interested," she said. "I hope, when they come out here, this is it."
Green's role as an educator dovetails with a broader mission as a Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy research ecologist studying -- among other things -- the impact of urban centers on reptile and amphibian life in nearby swamps and floodplains.
The academy, established in 1996 with the mission of promoting environmental stewardship through education and research, is among a growing number of organizations in the Augusta area that focuses on environmental education and awareness.
Others include Savannah Riverkeeper, a stewardship organization linked to similar groups in other river basins; an Augusta chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, which promotes the use of technology and materials that help promote sustainability and conservation of natural resources; and the Central Savannah River Land Trust, which helps preserve stream buffers and other sensitive natural areas through conservation easements and other means.
Augusta is also home to the CSRA Air Quality Alliance, a consortium of local governments and agencies working together to improve air quality in the region; and the governors of Georgia and South Carolina now maintain task forces to work with one another on the complex issue of sharing the jointly owned Savannah River and its water.
Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org.