Valerie Seyforth Clayton, a former teacher at both Apalachicola High School and the Apalachicola Bay Charter School, has released a children’s book "The Bald Eagles of Money Bayou An Almost True Story," based in large part on her volunteer work with Florida EagleWatch.
Clayton, a journalism grad from Troy State, taught English, journalism and computers at AHS from 1986-2002 and language arts at the ABC School in 2002-3. She now teaches technology at Port St. Joe Elementary.
The book of realistic fiction is about a bald eagles nest in the Indian Pass area that lost the entire tree and nest during Hurricane Michael.
Her volunteer work for Florida EagleWatch since 2017 now enables her to monitor eagle nests in Gulf and Franklin counties, and she often takes photos, which illustrate the book.
When she showed the elementary school librarian in Port St. Joe one of the photos, she suggested she write a children’s book.
"Not knowing that one day I would be an eagle watcher, it is ironic that when I was teacher at the ABC School, we didn’t have a mascot yet. Each class was told to submit a choice and the school would vote for one," Clayton said. "I told my fourth grade students that year ‘It was a no-brainer.’ We had a bald eagle fly over the playground almost every day when we were housed in the portable buildings. My class submitted bald eagles, and it won!
"When I was a middle school student at Apalachicola High School, where I attended through grade 10, I wrote stories and would dream of writing a book," she said. "So 45 years later I did! I tell my students at Port St. Joe Elementary, that you can fulfill a dream at any time of your life, so don’t stop dreaming."
On Amazon, Clayton’s book has a five star rating, and was a #1 New Release in the category of children’s environment books. Profits from Amazon sales in 2019 will go to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, where the rehabilitate eagles and other raptors when they are injured., and which is home to Florida Audubon EagleWatch.
In Apalachicola, the books will be sold at Peddler’s Cove, and at Downtown Books.