2009 Young Eco-Hero Awards

Lessons from Kids

Cameron Oliver, a fifth-grade student from Abu Dhabi, won a Young Eco-Hero Award for his campaign to save camels.© www.cameronscamelcampaign.com

Kids today. Not only are they mastering technology ahead of many adults, they’re also making greater strides towards sustainability. The evidence was abound at the 2009 International Young Eco-Hero Awards, sponsored by Action for Nature, which honors children from ages 8 to 16 for their eco-achievements.

Three winners were announced for the two age categories: 8—12 and 13—16. Erik Uebelacker, age 8, from Maryland, wrote a book called Butterflies Shouldn’t Wear Shoes, after learning that butterflies taste with their feet. An avid animal lover, he sold more than 450 copies of his book and was able to donate $2,000 to the World Wildlife Fund.

Cameron Oliver, age 12, from Abu Dhabi, started a campaign to save camels. He was horrified to learn that camels die after eating plastic bags littered in the desert, and worked to increase public awareness of this problem. His efforts included a website (www.cameronscamelcampaign.com), school presentations and even interviews on radio and TV.

Otana Jakpor, age 15, from Riverside, California, tested air purifiers for their release of ozone. Her idea came about after reading how common air purifiers can leak harmful levels of ozone, so she tested several models and found that some were emitting levels equal to Stage 3 smog alerts. Otana was asked to testify before lawyers about her findings after she shared them with the California Air Resources Board, and new regulations were put into place. Due to Otana’s efforts, California became the first state of regulate ozone generators.

CONTACT: Action for Nature