(302) 703-7086

Sarah McMann

St. Mark’s High School

Web of Wonders


What do you see when you look outside on a rainy day? Do you see gray and dreary skies, streets, and people? I can see the other side of those days, where the rain never stops falling, and the trees are so green they don’t look real. I see streams turn to rivers, and the sky tinted yellow. Those days remind me of the beautiful world that exists behind our gray one. Those days reassure me that nature’s beauty is never missing, just forgotten. People forget in their busy, stressful days that there is more to life than what’s directly in front of them. Nature’s web extends to us. Humanity is meant to live life cherishing and protecting nature, ignoring the connection between nature and people has only led to environmental threats and dangers. I have my own days where I forget that connection, but nature always seems to remind me of it. Humankind is a part of nature, and very intricately connected to it, but many people see nature as something completely separate from them, and because of that, many don’t feel the urgent need to protect the environments around them that are steadily facing more and more threats. You see the world through your own eyes, the experiences you have with nature are all your own. Nature is what you make of it, and if you truly see the wonderful connection you have with nature, protecting the web of life around you and bringing that connection clearly into others’ minds is an easy next step. 


My experiences over the years have taught me that my place in the world is not defined by anyone but me. However, those experiences have also taught me that I should always strive to make our world a better place. It’s easy for me to remember my connectedness with nature because I’ve been able to see so much of it. All of the places I’ve been, in addition to showing me so many different yet connected ecosystems and environments, have taught me that if I stop worrying about the little things and look at the big picture, I can see the beautiful world created for me and with me. My experiences have shown me that the world is so much bigger than I could ever imagine, and while my future is up to me, it’s always going to be intertwined with that big beautiful world. My place in the natural world is up to me, but my duty to the natural world is to cherish it and protect it so my future in it can be just as big and beautiful. 


In doing my part to help protect the planet, I do my best to recycle, clean up trash anywhere I see it, and do my civil part in cleaning up the environment one action at a time. I have also done many service projects, such as planting a pollinator garden, participating in beach cleanups and beachgrass plantings, helping stop the use of styrofoam trays in my middle school, and volunteering weekly at an animal shelter. Not only should we strive to make a positive difference in the environment but also for the animals that live in it and coexist with us. I have done many things in the name of the preservation of the world’s natural beauty, and will definitely continue to do so throughout my lifetime, getting more and more involved as I get older. I will always strive to make the world a better place, and many of my aspirations in life are linked with this topic, such as my dream of working and/or volunteering for the 4ocean organization, where I am hoping to directly help clean up the ocean one pound at a time. I also know that I want to work with animals, and am striving to educate myself in the fields of ecology, biology, zoology, and more. I am very interested in becoming a wildlife biologist, wildlife veterinarian, or anything involving the conservation and protection of ecosystems and animals. I am so lucky to have been taught the wonders of the world, and learned to see my connection to it all, at a very young age, which allowed me to begin what will be a lifelong journey of doing my part and more to make a difference, and motivating others to do the same. It is hard to get people to stop focusing on the little things happening in everyday life, and focus on the big picture, but that is what is necessary for anyone to actually see nature clearly as something worth protecting. 


Talking to someone about climate change and trying to educate them in the classroom doesn’t have the greatest impact, and many who are taught the importance of climate change leave with the same mindset as when they came in, the common one is: it’s important, but I don’t need to help for things to change. People can’t be taught to see the world differently or why they should take part in protecting it, as many are wrapped up in their own lives and feel like they are too busy to care. What can make a real difference is showing someone the natural beauty this earth has to offer, taking them away from the worries of everyday life, and letting them learn for themselves how amazing and jaw-dropping the world really is. Seeing the big picture and connecting with the natural world is very hard for many because they’ve never tried to look at it all, instead looking towards one set destination or goal in their mind, and it doesn’t allow for the time to take a step back and smell the roses. 


I am so fortunate that I was able to learn from a young age how magnificent and beautiful the biggest and littlest things in the natural world can be. However, not many people have been lucky enough to have the experiences I have-the many trails I’ve traveled and the mountains I’ve climbed. I can see the connections between people, through love, friendship, and community. I can see the connections growing every which way in nature like roots on a tree. Most of all, I can see how I am connected to the earth and the environments around me in a big beautiful web, and those connections are getting more visible every day. The worries of everyday life seem less important to me as I continue to be more and more in awe of the nature around me. If you truly take a step back and look at the complete panorama, you can feel the gentle breeze on your skin or the grass under your bare feet. You can hear the back-and-forth calls of birds in the morning or the crickets as they chirp at night. The clouds can look so beautiful if you only learn to look up. Storms that once seemed problematic and scary can be unimaginably gorgeous. If you can only remember your connection to nature, you’ll see how it’s worth protecting.