Issue 1 | September 2021 | Meet the Editor

Editor, CoreShark H2O, Behind the Scenes

By Josalyn Bonney

My first grade teacher was well-known for teaching a unit on the rainforest. She decorated the classroom with towering trees strewn with stuffed animals swinging from green, construction-paper vines. The year I was in her class was no different. It seemed that overnight the familiar, mundane classroom had turned into an uncultivated forest. For the entire semester, we learned about the structure of this important region, the diverse organisms that live in it, and how humans are affecting it. As we dove into the third topic about the human impact, I was appalled to learn about the negative consequences we left on the environment because of deforestation and unsustainable practices. The rainforest was being destroyed exponentially. This poignant revelation ignited my interest to become an enthusiastic environmental activist starting in the summer after first grade.

Editor, CoreShark H2O, Behind the ScenesEven at my young age, it could be said that I regarded the proverb “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” in the literal sense. I considered a neighborhood stand to be a childhood staple and this concept, along with my new global perspective from Ms. Miller, inspired me to hold my own fresh-squeezed lemonade stand fundraiser. I called it “Josalyn’s Lemonade for the Rainforest” which was held just outside of our home on a busy street corner in downtown Annapolis. We decided to organize it on the 4th of July because of our excellent location one block away from spectacular fireworks viewing. We knew that thousands of people would be visiting town for Independence Day, more specifically passing by my central location; and this was the best opportunity to gain support for my cause. 

 To help build my base for this one day event, I became a part-time marketer. With my parents at my side, I walked to stores around the neighborhood and displayed colorful, homemade flyers in their windows. We also went to the local grocery store and purchased the required supplies: several hundred lemons (which we juiced by hand), water, and sugar. The much-anticipated day dawned bright and hot, the perfect day for selling lemonade; and with excitement, we opened my first “Josalyn’s Lemonade for the Rainforest.” We stood outside on that boiling Maryland summer day until late at night. Throughout the time, many people came by seeking refuge from the heat by purchasing lemonade, while others were generous enough to leave a donation specifically for the rainforest. The results for the first event were considered a success with a total of $300 generated. We donated the proceeds to the Rainforest Foundation, U.S (RFF-US), which is headquartered in New York City. 

Editor, CoreShark H2O, Behind the ScenesThe local media coverage of newspapers, magazines, and even a live interview on an environmental radio show, resulting from my annual event, was more than any of us could have imagined; and my lemonade stand continued to grow each year in both notoriety and product quality. Instead of using conventional goods the following year, I visited the local Whole Foods store with my parents and shared the previous year’s success with the necessary representative. My enthusiasm and passion convinced the marketing manager to underwrite my cause and donate all organic products. As I continued to expand my best practices, I was able to use my Whole Foods leadership experience to successfully replace regular plastic cups with a “new” biodegradable cup made of corn from an internationally-recognized brand called Greenware. With these achievements, we became “Josalyn’s Organic Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Stand,” and improved the green image by using only organic and sustainable products. 

When I was in first grade, I never imagined my lemonade stand would become so successful. And as the annual event drew to an inevitable conclusion after a nine-year run, I had fulfilled a seven-year-old’s dream to do what I could to protect the rainforest. With the outpouring of donations from many generous patrons, a grand total of over $17,000 had been contributed.

My environmental activities have not stopped there, as I followed my passion through high school with my Girl Scout Gold Award. For my project, I created a native rain garden on the campus grounds that promotes local wildlife and enhances the school’s space. I also included a lesson plan on the topic for the Freshman Biology teachers so incoming students understand the importance of protecting the environment and are able to enjoy the garden throughout their high school experience. 

In addition to my environmental pursuits, I also help out at my parents’ bed and breakfast, The Inn at Horn Point. I operate as a co-innkeeper and take care of all the loose ends that come with running the business. In my free time, I enjoy reading and writing. I am also an intern with ClearShark H2O, and I hope to put my skills to good use with them.  I look forward to producing riveting and relevant newsletters that peak your interest!