KPBSD Inspiration: Anna DeVolld, Connections Homeschool Class of 2023
She’s 14, won’t graduate until 2023, and is buzzingly changing our world, one word, image, and seed at a time.
Meet Anna, a homeschool student, with an online teacher who inspires her to be a citizen scientist…
“My KPBSD Distance Education science teacher, Ms. Leslie, inspires me to set high goals and work diligently to reach them. She always encourages me to be a “citizen scientist” and to make a difference in our community by following my dreams. She has an amazingly kind and funny personality, and as my role model, she has shown me that curiosity and resiliency are important! Not only does she support my academic life, but she also cares about who I am and what I’m interested in. Because of the way she touches my life (even though we’ve only met in person a few times), I’m planning to go into the same profession: online education. I want to change students’ lives the way she has changed mine.”
Faced with Choices…
Recently, pollinators have been declared the most important creatures on earth by the Earthwatch Institute, and yet their numbers are declining at an alarming rate. In the U.S. alone, their numbers drop by 30% every year!
Last year, I decided to do something about this worldwide problem and I created a program to benefit pollinators here in Alaska: P.O.P. – Promote Our Pollinators! P.O.P. began as a Caring for the Kenai project and is designed to educate our community about the importance of pollinators and why their numbers are declining, while providing ways to promote their population growth and inspiring the next generation to be good stewards of our natural resources. I created a flier, activity book, Facebook page, Twitter account, and website to educate and inspire our community to take action for pollinators. I have designed promotional items like reusable tote bags, stickers, and buttons and distributed them at many community events like Industry Appreciation Day. I have given numerous presentations in schools, Rotary Clubs, and at the Soldotna Senior Center.
“When you are 14, it can sometimes be difficult and overwhelming to start a project like this, but I have the support of many individuals, organizations, and agencies who encourage me to pursue my passion for pollinators.” –Anna Devolld
Would you like a portable, pollinator garden?
“I created Pollinator Packs to address pollinator habitat loss. Pollinator Packs are six-pack pots that contain six different pollinator-friendly seedlings: the start of a pretty, portable, pollinator garden for anyone! My prototype year in 2019 ensured the plants would thrive and attract our indigenous pollinators. Next summer, I will be planting and freely distributing hundreds of Pollinator Packs, providing the easy to locate food source that pollinators need at frequent intervals in urban areas. The supplies needed to grow these packs and produce the promotional items are funded by grants from the Awesome Foundation, the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, ENSTAR, and by donations from local businesses. The City of Soldotna and Soldotna Parks and Recreation have partnered with me to install permanent pollinator garden signs in five locations this spring.
Education and State Government
I am scheduling more presentations for this spring and creating an online P.O.P. class for 3rd through 6th graders. In addition, I am also requesting that the Alaska DOT implement section 1415 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, a law that encourages state governments to use best practices to support pollinator health along roadside rights of way.
“I’m a gardener, and I really like planting seeds, so here’s one for you to grow: find something that you’re passionate about, no matter how small, and see how you can use it to change our world.” –Anna Devolld
Fun counts too!
While I love dancing and playing my piano, many of my favorite activities take place outside. I always look forward to skiing at Alyeska. My dad taught me how to ski when I was two, and now I can almost beat him down the slopes! I also really enjoy camping in the summer: sitting around the fire, roasting marshmallows, and listening to the sounds of the lake. In addition to admiring the scenery, we get to meet quite a bit of wildlife. One year, a brown bear came sauntering through our campsite! We watched him investigate a little bit, but when he took special interest in our tent, Mom decided it was time to get a trailer!
Expanding horizons with travel
I love to travel! Every year, my family visits a different part of the United States to see famous landmarks and historical sites. We have been all across the country: from New York to California and Minnesota to Texas. Last summer, we drove along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana; it was amazing how much the climate and culture changed as we traveled. I enjoyed all the amazing architecture and delicious food (Cajun food? Yes, please!).
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…” Colossians 3:23a is Miss Devolld’s favorite motivational phrase, and it is abundantly clear that it is a guiding principle leading her vision and destiny. What grabs your heart of care in our world? What supports do you need, and what can your first step be to begin?
Want to learn more about pollinators? Connect online:
- Facebook: POP – Promote Our Pollinators
- Twitter: @POPKenai
- website: P.O.P. | Promote Our Pollinators
- e: email@example.com
photos: 2015 State of Alaska winning essay for the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Essay Contest; Industry Appreciation Days booth for POP – Promote Our Pollinators; VFW Voice of Democracy Award Ceremony; Caring for the Kenai awards with educator Kim Leslie
KPBSD celebrates Anna Devolld who is proof positive of the KPBSD mission to empower all learners to positively shape their futures.
Do you have a story tip about a KPBSD graduate,
current student, or staff member to profile in our weekly inspiration
Kindly email Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD director of communications, community, and government relations: Pegge@KPBSD.org