Everything Miz Meliz

Author Interview: Jennifer Chambers

 Jennifer Chambers

“Watershed Adventures of a Water Bottle” – Children’s book, March 2013
“The Best Hikes for Kids: Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia – Guide book, Summer 2014
photo credit: Jennifer Chambers, HikingAlong.com
Author, Jennifer Chambers

Jennifer is a busy mom, author, blogger, teacher, environmental advocate and outdoor adventure director who is constantly juggling 10 things at a time –  which she says,  makes her husband’s head spin! She considers herself highly organized and a half-way decent teacher.  Well, I think she is much much, more than that! I had the chance to interview Jennifer about her new children’s book, “Watershed Adventures of a Water Bottle” and I found her to be quite inspiring. . .

Jennifer, I look forward to reading your book and reviewing it on my blog http://MizMeliz.com but before I do I would like to get to know you a bit.  Tell me about what you are up to these days.
Thank you for wanting to review my new children’s book. I am having a lot of fun networking with people to promote this book. Besides teaching and working as an advocate for the environment, I enjoy hiking the scenic trails of Washington, D.C
with my two children, my husband and our dog.  I blog about our adventures and I love to help others learn about the outdoors.
What is the book about?  
Here is the official synopsis:  Watershed Adventures of a Water Bottle tells the story of a water bottle’s journey in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and Atlantic Ocean. Upon reaching a storm drain, the personified water bottle travels the streams and rivers of Washington, D.C., meeting animals along its ride. Each animal—from the water strider to the loggerhead turtle—teaches the water bottle about itself, its origins, its journey, and those of other pollutants in the watershed. Alima is the five-year old water bottle’s heroine; making us all believe we can be one too.
It sounds great!  Why did you want to write a book about watersheds?
I wrote the book for educators and parents to use as a tool to engage kids to learn about the impact litter is having on our watersheds and oceans. In addition, 100% of the profit from the book is being equally donated to the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics program.
That’s amazing, 100% of the profits are going directly back to help the environment.  How  did you get the idea to write a children’s book like this?
The idea came to life from a lesson I developed for a 6-week Earth Day program for our county’s public housing after-school programs in my community. The lesson had two purposes: to engage the kids in understanding how long litter lives in our environment (biodegradable of a banana peel to a plastic water bottle) and where the litter can travel to when it enters a storm drain in their neighborhood. A lot of people think litter magically disappears; it just moves from location to location impacting the plants and animals that live at each spot.
During the activity, I had kids trace the travels of a juice box from their neighborhood street into the storm drain and then they determined the path/travels it would take, eventually ending up in the Atlantic Ocean. We brainstormed all the animals, from insects to mammals, that it could encounter along the way and what negative impact the juice box could have on the animals. After teaching this workshop eight years ago, I realized that this lesson would make a great children’s story.
How long did it take you to write the story and make it into a children’s book?
It took me another six more years to begin writing it when I was spurred to do so for my children’s elementary school. Some moms I was working with loved the idea and wanted to perform it as a play for Earth Day. (I have written it also as a play.) Therefore, over two years and a complete ending change from its original version, I finished it last summer and found two publishers who accepted the project for publishing and began that process last Fall.
Besides raising awareness about littering and it’s impact on wildlife and helping to raise funds for groups that protect the environment, what is your vision for the book?
I really hope this book can be used as a tool for environmental educators and teachers to engage kids in a science issue, one we have great behavioral control of, in an entertaining way. Science can come alive when presented in literature and story.
Why are you doing this?  What motivates you?
I love being a teacher. I teach middle school science at a special ed school. My passion is to engage kids in the outdoors in whatever way, through education, adventure, play, etc. I have been writing a blog since 2009 to share my own experiences and adventures in nature (many with my children and some without like my post entitled “Three Muddy Moms….“) and my advice for families to help them engage their children in the outdoors (i.e., Camping in the Rain).
I would love to read those posts and learn more about what you do.  Thank you!
To connect with Jennifer Chambers, go to her website: HIKING ALONG, Science & Hiking for Kids.
@hikingalongkids – Twitter
Thanks so much to Jennifer Chambers for sharing a little bit about herself, her important work and her new book, “Watershed Adventures of a Water Bottle.”  I look forward to reading it!  I hope you are inspired to check it out and share it with your kids.
Click HERE to purchase the book online.
Check out what I thought about “Watershed Adventures of a Water Bottle” in my book review.  Let me know if you have any questions for Jennifer in the comments.  Sign up for the Newsletter for updates or Follow Me.  
Do you have a book you would like me to review or a new adventure you want to tell me about?  Let me know!  It’s your time to shine!