Action For Nature recently announced their 2009 winners for International Young Eco-Heros. These kids -- some as young as 8 years old! -- are a true inspiration to anyone who wants to make an eco-difference. Here's the scoop behind the top winners in the preteen category:
Save the Camel Campaign
He believes that the camels in the Middle East are part of the world's heritage. To make people aware of what littering and plastic bags were doing to camels, he decided to use various media (TV, magazines, and newspapers), and also gave presentations, including one to His Highness Khalid Bin Zayed Al Nayan, Crown Prince and Supreme ruler of Abu Dhabi.
"I want to stop this," he said," as I want my children to see live camels and not read about them in books. It's got to stop!"
To help further his goal to save the camels and other wildlife, Cameron created T-shirts, bumper stickers, and a Web site,www.cameronscamelcampaign.com.
Cameron expects that it will take years to change people's attitudes and habits, but he said, "This campaign will not stop, unless the camels stop dying."
Adeline Tiffanie Suwana, First Place, Age 12, Kelapa Gading Permai, Indonesia
Adeline Tiffanie Suwana has a deep concern about the natural disasters in her country caused by flooding and wants to encourage all children in Indonesia to love and care about their environment. So during a school holiday, she gathered about 150 friends and classmates and after instructing them about the importance of mangroves, which help prevent damage from hurricanes and tsunamis, organized the planting of mangroves.
Since that first event, she has gathered more and more students together to tackle various environmental issues. Adeline invited her friends and other children throughout Indonesia to form a community of young people called SAHABAT ALAM, which means "friends of nature." Now up to 200 students show up for each environmental activity and there are about 1,700 members in the club throughout Indonesia.
In the Palau Pramuka area of Indonesia, Adeline organized students to plant coral reefs, because the reefs surrounding their island are damaged. She gathered students to help with fish breeding, turtle protection, and tree planting. Adeline also joined an environmental cleanup after flooding from a dam collapse resulted in many deaths.
Because Adeline is very concerned that the way people live isn't friendly to the environment, she has presented her ideas to schools, cooperated with government agencies, created a Web site, sahabat-alam.com, and is producing a TV program. She also has recorded a song in English and Indonesian as a means of encouraging people to conserve the earth.
Adeline continues to be a role model for how young people can show their appreciation for nature by organizing environmental actions to preserve the earth.
Erik Uebelacker, First Place, Age 8, Maryland , U.S.A.
A Book for Butterflies
Erik first learned that butterflies taste with their feet in his second grade science class. "I thought it was a cool fact," he said. "Then I thought about what would happen if butterflies wore shoes. They couldn't taste anything!" So he decided to write and illustrate a book about what would happen if butterflies wore shoes. His mom helped him with some of the drawings and helped him put the book together.
Erik wrote the book, Butterflies Shouldn't Wear Shoes, in May 2008 and gave the book to his teachers as a gift. They requested more copies, as did other people also, so he and his mother decided to get some books printed and sell them. He decided to donate the money he made to the World Wildlife Fund. Erik sold the books door-to-door, had a book signing and sale at a children's boutique in his town, and promoted the book on TV.
On October 2008, he and his family went to the World Wildlife Fund headquarters in Washington, D.C., with a check for $2,000, the money he raised from the sale of Butterflies Shouldn't Wear Shoes. Erik and his mom are still trying to get the book published by a real publisher so that it can be sold in bookstores nationwide with the proceeds being donated to World Wildlife Fund. Erik has a Web site to help him sell books at www.ButterfliesShouldntWearShoes.com. Erik loves animals and wants to help them, particularly the endangered ones.