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I am incredibly lucky to be able to say that I grew up on Long Beach Island, NJ. My childhood was spent on the beach, which ignited my passion for taking care of the environment. Although I did not see deer or squirrels in my back yard on the island, occasionally I would find a crab running from a seagull in my driveway! On West Avenue, I kept active and athletic by following my two brothers, riding our bikes, playing catch, playing with my cousins nearby, climbing trees, fishing on my grandparents' boat, and visiting our "Duck Bay" down the street.

Just like Yogi encouraged his children, my parents encouraged me to be involved many activities. I tried tennis, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, piano, violin, flute, and recorder. I especially loved being the catcher on my softball team, The Bay State Bank!

At my elementary school, Beach Haven Elementary School, my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Adams, offered us a photography club. To this day I enjoy taking pictures and I load up my cameras until they are full and I can't take any more pictures! We had amazing teachers who offered us so many opportunities. One of my favorite field trips was walking up the street to the beach to plant dune grass.

I finally found dance, which consumed much of my time outside of school. I enjoyed tap, jazz, ballet, point, and acrobatics. My tap teacher was a former Rockette so my dance shows and competitions were productions with tons of sparkle and elaborate costumes. Dance was a very important part of my life.

I attended the University of Delaware. I am now an elementary school teacher in NJ. I love getting students involved in many activities in my classroom, while at the same time working with our Student Council and Global Connections Club.

In my spare time, I love shelling, creating shadow boxes with shells from my vacations, bike riding with my family, exercising, and paddle boarding. I also find it relaxing to write for children. I wanted children to know that a habitat is easy to create in your backyard so I wrote "Why Do Birds Chirp?" I write often about nature and wildlife. I am still working on a book about a young Rhino trying to fly! As a huge Yankees fan, I learned quickly that Yogi Berra has an inspiring life story so I wanted to share it with children.

My advice to young writers, and my own two children, would be to write about what makes you happy. Write about what makes you care. Write about what gets you excited to share it with others!

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