With great pleasure Action For Nature announces its 2005 International Young Eco-Hero Awards, which recognize young people 8 to 16 years old for their environmental achievements. We hope the accomplishments of these outstanding young people will inspire many others to preserve and protect the Earth upon which all life depends.
Harshit Agrawal, 12, New Delhi, India
A founding member in 2001 of “Little Eco Friends,” a group of children aged 9 to 13 years who appreciate the environment, Harshit organized a successful campaign against plastic bags. Now, Harshit is conducting a garbage disposal campaign called “Don’t Waste Waste,” which, in part, raises awareness about how useful waste can be. Also, Harshit started a Zero Waste program at his school. Shocked by non eco-friendly practices, he vows to “help Mother Earth become cleaner and greener.”
Zachary Bjornson-Hooper, 15, California, USA
Using frequent flyer miles, Zachary collected and tested water samples on aircraft and discovered harmful bacteria in drinking water on some of the planes. Reporters from the Wall Street Journal who heard about his research duplicated his study and proved he was correct. “Contaminated water (stored in airline holding tanks) can easily end up in our airplane drinking glasses,” Zachary explains. As a result of the national publicity he received, drinking water supplies on USA aircraft are now subject to health inspections.
Evin McMullen, 14, Ohio, USA
Two years ago, Evin started SOS (Save Our Stream) to preserve the native Ohio Brook Trout (“brookies”). What started as a small project soon grew as Evin worked with many different organizations to increase the participation in SOS and to gain publicity. Development continues to threaten the watershed area as Evin, SOS, and the many new partners continue their critical public outreach and gain support to protect the trout, the stream and the watershed habitat.
Evin also helps train teachers to use the Jason Project curriculum effectively in the classroom at Case Western Reserve University. Evin has also received the President’s Environmental Youth Award.
Alexander “Zander” Srodes, 14, Florida, USA
Four years ago, Zander created an environmental education program called Turtle Talks, which he presents at schools, libraries and events. He has made presentations about sea turtle conservation to hundreds of students and grown-ups. “I know,” he says, “that I can get my message out to anyone, young and old.” And, it’s all the more interesting when Zander puts on his attention-grabbing sea turtle costume.
Adam Heaton, 9, Vermont, USA
People, schools and businesses that know Adam don’t throw away their used paper. Instead, they give it to him. He turns the recycled paper into note pads, which he sells to the local community. Adam donates to charity almost half of the money he makes selling the pads. “People waste a lot of paper,” he says, “and don’t understand that they can use it again.”
Brian Kim, 16, California, USA
Throughout 2004, Brian undertook several environmental conservation projects in his community. Along the way he learned to be more aware of his surroundings and of the impact of development on local wildlife. For some environmental projects Brian formed collaborations with local colleges and organizations. For one project, he earned money to pay for native plants, to supplement a company’s donation.
David Marash-Whitman, 13, California, USA
Horrified to learn that the chemical pollutants from people’s homes flowed into storm drains and from there directly into creeks and the ocean without treatment, David researched storm water pollution. He makes presentations in his community to persuade people to change their habits. As a result of his research, he has been named one of “America’s Top 40 young scientists.”
Adam Meyer, 15, North Carolina, USA
Each year since 2002, Adam has designed an environmental calendar, complete with environmental tips and a collage of his own photographs. His goal is to inspire customers to examine their personal connections with nature. Adam donates his profits to environmental non-profit organizations. As a 12 year-old, he felt powerless to change the environment. Now, through the calendar sales, Adam is able to make a difference. He is also involved in several local environmental campaigns.
Winne Owade, 13, Nairobi, Kenya
As a result of tree cutting around her school, Winne discovered that wild animals, mostly monkeys, had no food. So she started a program with her environmental club to collect leftover food from the school kitchen and she set up a regular feeding program to sustain the monkeys. She is also championing the planting of more trees so that the monkeys will not remain dependent upon humans. Her award ceremony was a big celebration. Read about it by clicking here.
Paul Banwart, 14, Minnesota, USA
Paul has been active in many environmental activities. Most recently he headed up an adopt-a-park project in his community, the goal being to improve wildlife habitat through forestry management. Through Paul’s leadership and planning, trees were planted on slopes to prevent erosion. While accomplishing this project, he learned important communication, organizational and leadership skills.
Trishelle Copeland-Johnson, 16, Florida, USA
Trishelle investigated the high salinity (salt) levels that are currently damaging the local river and estuary near where she lives and presented her findings to others, winning several awards. Trishelle learned “how the environment can easily be harmed through just the smallest of human neglect.”
Jason Fischel, 16, Delaware, USA
Through recording the night flight calls of migrating song birds with equipment he installed on a roof, Jason proved that song birds migrate during the night over buildings in his state, which was not previously well understood. The birds call to each other to check where the rest of the group is. A summary of Jason’s research was provided to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which runs the Web site www.oldbird.org that provides more information on the recording of nocturnal songbird migration.
Phillip Nowicki, 16, Georgia, USA
Phillip designed and built a life size, walk-through storm drain model that he took to outside events. And using a tabletop model, he educated adults and youth about the impacts of littering and pollution on our water supplies. “I will always,” says Phillip, “be a part of taking care of our environment by speaking out when necessary and taking part in community efforts like river clean ups and battery/tire recycling roundups.”
Julie Singer, 16, Nanuet, New York, USA
Julie co-founded the Youth Environmental Network, a division of Keep Rockland Beautiful, as well as an environmental club at her school. She designed puppet shows to present to elementary school students about the threat that litter poses upon the land as well as to animals. She speaks out about the importance of using trash cans, and the need to recycle trash, including batteries and paint cans.
Panel of Judges
Margaret Boeger, School Outreach Program, California Academy of Sciences, Brian Gibeson, Environmental Educator, Susan Silber, Environmental Educator, Ed Smith, Ph.D. Aquatic Biologist, Researcher and Professor.
Jamie Chan, David Gilford, David Jameson Ph.D., Beryl Kay, Adrienne Scroggie.