Action For Nature is pleased to announce the winners of its first International Young Eco-Hero Awards program. Eight young people have been selected to receive awards of $250 to $500 and a special Eco-Hero Awards certificate. In addition, four young people received Honorable Mention and have received awards of $50 and a special Eco-Hero Awards certificate. These individuals were selected from more than 100 applicants from all over the world.
We wish to thank everyone who submitted an application. Each young person demonstrated a great deal of talent, knowledge, and commitment to improving and protecting our environment. While not everyone received an award, we believe that each applicant is an Eco-Hero.
Rafia spoke out and wrote about problems of environmental degradation, in particular the dangers that youth are facing in urban and rural areas due to the contamination of drinking water. Striving to be heard even though she was young, she became the youngest person to present a paper at an international conference attended by government officials, policy makers and water experts. Rafia plans to continue promoting her environmental concerns through the media and by holding programs encouraging youth to express their concerns and to initiate action.
At 10 years of age, Justin is a dynamic speaker and ambassador for the environment. He spoke on behalf of youth to world leaders in South Africa at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. He’s also started an environmental club in his school, developed his own web site, and produced a recycling video in which he interviews some prominent people including the Prime Minister of Canada.
“I really enjoy nature,” says Justin, “and, like a lot of kids, I feel close to it.”
Age 8 - 12
Lindsay Carlson and Brandee Van DonselAge
When Lindsay and Brandee saw that a lot of beautiful trees near their home in the Sierra foothills, California, were getting cut down, they got real worried and they started a campaign to prevent a utility company from cutting down the trees, especially their favorite L-shaped tree that they had grown up with. Their campaign raised public awareness of the issue and the tree was saved. Unfortunately we have recently learned that despite their efforts, the utility company recently chopped the tree down. The campaign continues!
Age Group 13 - 16
Working on stream issues to gain community interest in water quality, Cody organized clean-ups, and spoke on television. He also became a certified instructor and was chosen o be a judge for the Georgia Water and Pollution Control Association Public Education Awards. Cody has always loved the outdoors and nature which sparked his interest in water quality and keeping nature beautiful.
Benjamin contributed more than 300 volunteer hours to an Adopt-A-Park Program at Jackson Park in Minnesota. He became the program coordinator, and with volunteers he recruited, he worked on developing trails, and studied soil and plants. Throughout his life, Benjamin and his family have spent countless hours hiking and enjoying local and state parks, which led to his interest in being involved in this project.
There is more information available to scientists these days due to research conducted by Nathan on snakes, including endangered snakes. He collects and studies road-kill snakes and has written extensively about this research.
“All this has inspired me,” says, Nathan, “to continue this research and make it bigger and better.”
Impact of Antibiotics on Agriculture
Participating in an Iowa State University program in her spare time, Erin spent many hours assisting with research and experimentation regarding the impact of agriculture on antibiotics.
"In the Midwest," says Erin, "this is a huge concern to communities because the animal waste gradually contaminates the drinking water systems and leads to the resistance of antibiotics in humans."
Erin visited hog farms, worked in the lab and wrote a paper on the subject.
Anthony founded the Teens Improving the Environment Club in his school in California. He recruited members and officers, coordinated recycling programs and organized an elementary school outreach program.
“I’ve learned”, Anthony says, “that a club must work together to be successful … and also that people can get excited over something that affects everyone.”
Working on conservation projects in Tennessee, Michael became involved in preparing wildlife habitat improvements, worked with farmers, built birdhouses, and cleaned out ponds. He improved habitats for white-tailed deer, rabbits, goundhogs, and many different species of birds including wild turkeys. He also spoke to clubs and groups to promote conservation.
Effects of Wastewater on Local Ponds
Researching the affects of wastewater treatment centers on local ponds, Anastasia talked to public officials and plant managers, did water sampling and promoted public awareness through presenting her findings at different events. Anastasia grew up playing in creeks, catching pollywogs and fishing in local ponds. As she grew older, she became aware of what was necessary for the little stream creatures to live.