Support: Vanessa King and Matt Jankowiak

The Ecology Program at Waters
Dear Mr. Rutkowski and the LSC Members,
The current discussions around the Ecology program are complex and hard to navigate, and we know that this decision with many facets was not made lightly. As parents of an incoming 3rd grader and Pre-K student, we wanted to let you know our experience with the Ecology program lead by Mr. Leki over our last three years at this school.
I (Vanessa) have personally been on many field trips as a chaperone to the river, and I’ve seen first hand the students as they learn about the environment throughout the seasons. These trips to the river were formative for my daughter’s respect of the earth and the community we live in.
Teaching children to work together to care for their surroundings builds them into kind individuals, contributing to our community as adults. In our current social environment this is something we need now more than ever.
Our daughter puts the lessons from Mr. Leki into practice in her daily life. She reminds us not to waste water in our daily use, she encourages us to pick up litter when we’re outside in nature,
and she’s even memorized the look and names of a dozen different local birds. She always mentions Mr Leki’s classes when she does this.
There have been numerous studies on gardening and mental health benefits. The positive effects of getting our children off their screens and out in nature is immeasurable. I (Matt) work in the software technology industry for one of the world’s largest Agriculture companies. I find the education component that the Ecology program offers to Waters students to be unique and necessary in a child’s understanding of our changing environment. As climate change continues to affect agriculture and ecology in all our communities, understanding our environment in the way this Ecology program provides is critical to growing a new generation of students that will care for our planet.
We do hope you are considering all of these aspects when thinking about the future direction of the ecology program’s funding and the importance of Mr Leki’s leadership, guidance, and direction.
Thank you all for your time and dedication to the Waters school and community,
Vanessa King and Matt Jankowiak