Jessica Ainslie (Team Hawaii Preparatory Academy Environment): Hawaii Preparatory Academy - Waimea, HI
Jessica was born and raised in the small town of Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii and is currently a junior at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. Raised in a town that hosts Keck Observatory, she has been surrounded by scientists that shape her thoughts and actions in response to environmental problems. In addition Jessica’s interest lies also in social sciences and she enjoys looking at how human relations can affect the earth around us. Jessica is excited to attend Green University and sees it as an opportunity to grow as a thinker in her environmental studies!
Bethany Bauer: Albuquerque Academy - Albuquerque, NM
Bethany is a freshman at Albuquerque Academy. She first became interested in the environment when she went into middle school and joined the environmental club. Now she is a leader in the club and in the sustainability action on her campus. Bethany also enjoys theatre and music; she plays clarinet, bass clarinet, and ukulele. She loves using her passion for music, acting, and the environment and fusing them together to inspire the people around her to reconsider the conventional choices they make every day. She is particularly passionate about raising awareness for important environmental issues, because a lot of people can be very cynical about the ecological problems facing us. Remaking her lifestyle to become more eco conscious was an obvious choice, and it was cool that it was so creative and fun! Bethany’s goal is to change the stereotypical outlook on environmentalism by making people realize that being sustainable can be easier than they think.
Alice Beittel: Bishop O'Dowd High School - Oakland, CA
Alice Beittel is a junior at Bishop O’ Dowd High School in Oakland, California. She is deeply concerned for the future of the environment and wants to spread awareness and inspiration out to the world about environmental issues: we have the power to make changes for the better! Alice plans to major in environmental science and biochemistry, two of her favorite subjects. She is also an actor, a singer, a fencer, a dancer, a snowboarder, and of course a friend of Mother Earth! As a member of the Students 4 Sustainability Committee at her high school, she gives a round of applause and a huge thank you to her classmates on the PGC Team Bishop O’Dowd; she would not be here if it was not for them! In her spare time, she gardens in her newly planted vegetable garden in her backyard, fences, and loves nothing more than to settle down with a good book and a cup of tea. She has loved PGC and has grown in her knowledge about environmental issues throughout her PGC journey and is super duper excited to be a finalist!
Emily Behnke: University of Delaware - Newark, DE
Emily is a freshman at the University of Delaware and, while still an Undecided major now, she plans to major in either Environmental Engineering or Environmental Science. She's originally from Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended Perry Hall High School and served as a member of the Environmental Club. Her passion for the environment initially grew from the many trips she took to her family's plant nursery and to various national parks, where she came to fall in love with the untouched beauty of nature. Gradually, this love merged with a new obsession for health and fitness in her teenage years as she came to realize the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and an eco-friendly lifestyle, and how the two concepts are really interdependent. Through the amazing experience of PGC, her passion has skyrocketed and she now knows, without a doubt, that she wants to pursue a career related to environmental sustainability. She ultimately hopes to help spread awareness about this oft-overlooked problem and help move it from the background to the forefront of everyone's daily radar.
Mike Bideau (Team Cherry Flavored Emus): West Chester University - West Chester, PA
Michael Bideau is a sophomore at good ole West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. There he studies Earth and Space Science Education with a certificate in Education for Sustainability. He plans on teaching Environmental Science out west in either Colorado or New Mexico. He is also the Vice President of the EARTH club at West Chester and a member of the Improv Performance Troupe. He is also an Eagle Scout and is still active in scouting as he works out at Philmont Scout Ranch as a Ranger during the summers. Michael couldn't have made it this far in the Project Green Challenge without his team, The Cherry Flavored Emus. Kendra, Dominique, and Shannon all did so much work and each of them deserve to be here just as much as he does. Shout out to literally the best people he could ask to have worked with this past month.
Elizabeth Campbell: Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
Elizabeth is a senior at Johns Hopkins University who is majoring in Public Health Studies and minoring in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Global Environmental Change and Sustainability. She grew up in New Jersey, where she first developed a love for the environment playing in her backyard, taking hikes with her family, and picking fruits and vegetables at local farms. Today she is especially passionate about using policy to make society more sustainable, an interest that she has explored through her involvement in campus clubs, her research experience, and internships. Elizabeth was inspired to take part in Project Green Challenge to learn how she can change her own lifestyle and become more involved in her community. She is extremely grateful for all that PGC has taught her and she will take the lessons she has learned from PGC with her in future sustainable pursuits. In her free time, Elizabeth is an avid runner who enjoys reading, cooking, music, and traveling.
Jon O'Brian (Team GreenWachu): Wachusett Regional High School - Holden, MA
Jon is a senior at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA. He likes food, watching Lost, talking to voters, and commenting on organic food! He is one of two student representatives to the Wachusett District School Committee. Jon has been interested in environmental activism and sustainability ever since he was a little freshman, when he joined Wachusett’s environmental group, Think Globally, Act Locally, of which he is now the Vice-President. Jon hopes to be a political organizer for nationwide campaigns and elections, and make not only political change, but environmental change in this country. At some point in his life, Jon would like to settle down in a major city such as Boston or Washington D.C., where he would be a crazed political activist. Overall, Jon loves a healthy(and sustainable!) environmental-political mix, and would like to spread the word to any who will listen!
Megan Fuerst: The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH
Hello! My name is Megan Fuerst, I am 18 years old and am from Chardon, Ohio. I am currently a freshman at The Ohio State University. I am majoring in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability with the specialization on Sustainability and Business. The recycling club on my campus introduced me to PGC and it was a wonderful experience! I grew up in a very scenic area and have always loved being surrounded by nature, which is how I came to be so passionate about the environment. I believe that it is crucial to keep this planet healthy and green for the future generations to enjoy.
Annabella Funk (Team Bellaluna): Nevada Union High School - Grass Valley, CA
Anabella Funk, age 14, is passionate about inspiring positive change. When she was nine, her first film, Journey of the Yuba, screened at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival and won the Student Filmmaker Award. Since then, she directed, filmed and edited, To Speak Without Words, focused on her time volunteering in Haiti with Vitamin Angels. Another film, Swimming through Stone, is a tribute to both the Yuba River and the music of Marie Sioux. In 2012, she volunteered with Traditional Medicinals in Rajasthan, India to help young girls have the right to go to school.
Sara Mira: The Newman School - Chia, Columbia
Sara was born and raised in Colombia and she is a junior at Newman School. Her interest for the environment fist began when she was very little and traveled around Colombia with her parents learning from different cultures. She was a volunteer in the Water Referendum which used to pursue water to become a human right into the National Constitution. As well she is now accomplishing the social service as an English Teacher at a kindergarten for kids from low incomes families. She has traveled to different nature reserves, protected areas and national parks in different places in Colombia where she has had the opportunity of sharing with indigenous communities. Project green challenge has strengthened her leadership capacity in her community and her school.
Erin Mundorf: The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH
I grew up hiking in the Metro parks of Cleveland, Ohio. I fell in love with the woods and decided to pursue environmental engineering to help the planet. I currently attend The Ohio State University in Columbus and intend to make my focus in environmental engineering on air pollution reduction. I love cats, yoga, and being outdoors. I believe in being the best possible you and doing everything you can to make yourself and the world a better place.
Anna Rhoads: Humboldt State University - Arcata, CA
Hi, my name is Anna Rhoads and I am a senior at Humboldt State University. My major is Environmental Science, with an emphasis in policy. I currently work as the Resident Sustainability Advisor for Housing and Dining Services, where I create educational environmental programs for students who live on campus and also assist with energy and water conservation efforts on housing grounds. I am also a member of Humboldt State University’s Sustainability Coalition, where we work together to create sustainable change on campus. My interests in the environmental realm include environmental justice activism, food policy, and appropriate technology. I hope to work for an environmental non-profit when I am finished with school and create positive change. When I’m not busy with school and work, I enjoy yoga, dancing, cooking, hiking, kickboxing, playing with my cat, Binx, and going to the local Farmers’ Market on the weekend.
Eryn Russell: Lawton Chiles High School - Tallahassee, FL
Eryn Russell is a senior at Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Florida. Ever since she took an environmental science class last year, she has been inspired to make change within her own life and those around her. From day one, her parents taught her the importance of helping others and taking care of nature. Eryn wants to continue making a change for the better, moving herself and her family's lifestyle from conventional to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Her interests include mission work and watching movies with her cat.
Maddie Welsch: Skidmore College - Saratoga Springs, NY
Maddie is a freshman at Skidmore College where she is hoping to double in Visual Art and a self-designed major relating to Food, Activism & Sustainability. She was born and raised in rural Hardwick, MA and is constantly inspired by the many surrounding farms and gardens. Her interests include spending time in the great outdoors, painting, baking, Bollywood music, Quidditch and--of course-- advocating for the environment. Project Green Challenge has truly transformed her life from conventional to conscious; throughout the course of the month, she has completely changed her diet, consumption, food and water awareness, waste, purchasing methods, campus involvement, fitness, social media use, and so much more. After college she hopes to put the culture back in agriculture by pursuing a career that synthesizes art, food justice, and community outreach. She is incredibly thankful to PGC for this amazing opportunity and cannot wait to attend Green University!
Jimmy Zhang: Lawton Chiles High School - Tallahassee, FL
Jimmy is currently a senior at Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Florida. He has greatly enjoyed learning about various environmental issues throughout his Project Green Challenge experience. It was his AP Environmental Science teacher, Mrs. Breza-Pierce, who first inspired him to sign up for Project Green Challenge in 2012, but he has been much more involved this year, taking on the role of Campus Rep and completing all of the challenges. Jimmy has many academic areas of interest, and he hopes to combine his passions in the natural sciences and social sciences to support sustainability worldwide. Project Green Challenge 2013 has allowed him to initiate positive change in his personal life, on his school campus, and within his community. He has spoken out about topics such as school lunches and GMO labeling, and plans to continue his advocacy efforts. He is incredibly excited to attend Green University and looks forward to staying involved with Teens Turning Green in the future!