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Saanich teens win United Way green award for school programs
Two Reynolds secondary students are being recognized for their efforts leading a green push at their school and in their community.
Fiona Gregg, a lead hand at Reynolds’ Red Wiggler Ranch, and Anna Stark, a cohort among the school’s eco-action leaders both shared United Way's Green Youth Award at the organization's 16th annual Youth Now event in May.
“I just try to make the world we live in a better place,” Gregg said. “You start in school and branch out into the community.”
Reynolds' eco-action leaders helped spearhead a chicken coop in the school's courtyard. Stark, now in Grade 11, was handed the chicken task three years ago.
“It’s a program where we raise chickens for the community, to get real food back into the community,” Stark said. Egg-laying females go to families and the males go “back to the farm” to hit the local food stream as poultry.
“It’s really cool, now I have chickens at home too,” she said. The Stark family suffers from the usual pet allergies that chickens don’t tend to set off, which helped their daughter sell the idea of chickens at home.
More recent endeavours include the Reynolds Red Wiggler Ranch, a project started in March where the students grow red wiggler worms.
“We thought we could sell them and raise money for other Reynolds initiatives,” Gregg said. “We need to experiment on their living conditions more to see what would help them reproduce.”
Stark and Gregg have been significantly engaged in environmental community service for the past three years at Reynolds in an effort reduce their carbon footprint and encourage others to live sustainably.
While the future is uncertain for the worm farm with lower reproduction than expected, the two young environmentalists are headed down a busy path. Aside from assisting with the chickens, worms and the long-established recycling program at Reynolds, the duo have attended many composting workshops and even hosted a school eco-fair. For both of them, the Youth Now award is icing on the cake.
“It really was a surprise and so much fun,” Gregg said.
United Way CEO Patricia Jelinski said the pair highlight outstanding endeavours in today’s youth.
“Our Youth Now Awards give me great hope for future generations in Greater Victoria. It is amazing to meet outstanding youth like Anna and Fiona that are leaving such a positive mark in our community as volunteers, role models and upcoming leaders,” Jelinski said. “Not only are these two young ladies focused on environmental sustainability at school and at home, they are contributing to the health and well-being of our community as a whole.”
United Way and the Inter-municipal Youth Service Providers of Greater Victoria have recognized more than 1,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 29 for outstanding contributions as volunteers and community leaders since the YouthNOW Awards began in 1999.
Visit uwgv.ca and search for ‘Youth Now awards’ to view eligibility criteria and a full list of winners.