I was very inspired by the welcoming address this evening. Discovery TV star, Jeff Corwin poured out heart and soul from the stage. He described the movement he became a naturalist at age six bonding with a small garter snake in his grandparents backyard outside Boston. Later when he was just beginning to create projects for Discovery, he bonded with a baby elephant in an elephant orphanage and he relived the feeling of connection he made spending the night with the baby elephant and years later experiencing a similar connection with his 2 year old daughter as he comforted her after a bad dream. He conveyed a deep abiding passion for ecology, and conservation in hopes of making the world a better place for all of our children. He was in constant motion across the stage, animated, humorous and serious but always sure of his purpose. I was touched by his ability to paint pictures with words and stories. My hat is off to Jeff. Reading the Lorax to my students will have an even deeper meaning for me after his story about a seemingly ordinary bird, the very last of it’s kind on earth. It brought home the plight of extinction and the need to pay attention to these critical signs and how they will impact the future.