The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Established in 2001 by author T.A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive impact on people, animals or the environment. For more information, visit www.barronprize.org
Here are some of the great things the recent honorees have done to help the Earth and wildlife:
Abbie Weeks, age 18, of Colorado, created Ecological Action, a non-profit that provides solar energy to underprivileged communities, including a school for AIDS orphans in Uganda and a military veteran’s home on a Native American Reservation.
Alex Weber and Jack Johnston, age 17, of California, founded The Plastic Pick-Up, a non-profit committed to keeping plastics pollution – especially golf balls – out of the ocean. They have removed 21,000 golf balls from the seafloor below Pebble Beach Golf Course.
Ana Humphrey, age 16, of Virginia, created Watershed Warriors, a non-profit that has paired high school students with nearly 300 low-income and minority fifth-graders to teach environmental awareness through hands-on STEM activities.
Elizabeth Klosky, age 18, of New York, founded NY is a Great Place to Bee! to educate the public about bees and their plight, pass bee-supportive legislation, and help ensure healthy bee populations.
Joris Hutchison, age 10, of Washington, works to save cheetahs from the very real threat of extinction. He volunteers each summer at a cheetah sanctuary in Namibia, Africa, and has raised more than $14,000 to purchase GPS collars that track and protect the animals.
Rupert and Franny Yakelashek, ages 13, and 10, of British Columbia, have worked for three years to convince 23 Canadian municipalities to make Environmental Rights Declarations, formally recognizing citizens’ rights to clean air, healthy food, and safe drinking water.
Sophie Bernstein, age 17, of Missouri, founded Grow Healthy and has created 22 vegetable gardens at low-income child care centers across St. Louis. She has also harvested and donated 17,000 pounds of produce to local food banks.
Stella Bowles age 13, of Nova Scotia, is spearheading the clean-up of the LaHave River, which contains alarmingly-high levels of fecal contamination.
Because of her work, the Canadian government has allocated nearly $16 million to address the problem.
Nicholas Metropulos, age 18 of Florida, created a non-profit that teaches low-income children to become ethical anglers and environmental stewards. During eight week-long sessions, children learn how to fish and participate in hands-on marine conservation activities.