WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When you spend time with Betty Underwood, you are guaranteed a lesson about the ocean. She is a volunteer for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and her passion is to help children understand the importance of preserving our oceans and not polluting them with trash.
"I came home from a public affairs event and I was trying to tell the kids about how long things take to decompose to degrade, these were little kids and they just weren't getting it."
In order to help children understand, Betty created her own portable ocean with trash included to capture the young minds.
Her lessons are simple and to the point.
"I take it around to schools and libraries and events and really talk to the audience, get down to their level and let me see how bad things are if we don't clean up after ourselves."
She's thought of everything. Even using stuffed animals to show how boats can affect sea creatures.
"With all of their cartoons and video games the little ones, that's what they relate to so I just got down to their level and this is what I have to do, and it works. We have an ocean of plastic and it's in the Pacific and it's twice the size of Texas so we've got to get to these kids and make them our future stewards, our environmentalists. I like to say I am one person, this is one world and I only have one chance to clean it up."
Betty Underwood is one of 5 Jefferson Award winners, honored for outstanding work in the community. The award is named after Thomas Jefferson.
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