Team Nature Nerds (Jennifer Lin, Alice Chen, Joanne Li, Richard Ren)

Jericho High School, Jericho, NY


I’m a junior at Jericho High School in Long Island, New York. I’ve lived in Long Island my whole life, and I think that because of this, I love environmentalism. My neighborhood may look like as normal suburb, but it’s also so much more than that. We are surrounded by beautiful beaches, the Long Island Sound, and also the most beautiful forests and parks. I grew up going on nature walks with my family, who have always been environmental. When I was in 4th grade, my dad made a compost bin and I later carried this on by starting vermicomposting and spreading the idea to my friends and community. As of now, I think of myself as an innovator and an environmentalist. I want to change the world to be sustainable in smarter ways. My STEM background has taught me to be practical and efficient, while my environmental background has kept me grounded and reminded me of my values of a cleaner, unified Earth.

What five words best describe your PGC experience?

Enlightening. Inspiring. Creative. Transformative. Adventurous.

What was most memorable from your PGC experience?

The most memorable aspect of PGC 2018 was working with and learning from people we never expected to work with before! Us sophomores never expected to work with Jennifer, a junior, who taught us so much when it comes to presentations, designs, and the process of PGC. (We seriously couldn’t’ve done it without her!) It was interesting meeting new people from our respective friend groups, grades and even schools as well, as each of us brought in different friends throughout the challenges.

Think about yourself pre-PGC, just 30 days ago, and then think about who you are today. How have you changed? What have you learned about yourself?

I met my PGC team through our school’s research program, and I can guarantee that they are some of the brightest sophomores you will ever meet. I was blown away by their sheer determination and enthusiasm for learning more. The past 30 days spent with these brilliant minds and an abundance of new knowledge has been captivating and inspiring. As we look back, we see how far we have come from those four unconscious kids, to four sustainable game changers. Through PGC we have learned to educate ourselves, educate others, and mobilize for action on important environmental issues, creating an impact and paving the way for a sustainable world. This movement has taught us that caring for the Earth is just as important as caring for ourselves- we only have one planet and we should do everything in our power to ensure that it is sustainable.

From learning about our school’s energy sources, worker conditions in the fashion industry, and overall statistics about how our world is being affected by climate change, we all feel a greater sense of urgency and motivation in protecting our environment. We’ve all learned about our personal impacts on the environment, such as our carbon footprints and how our individual habits (such as the type of shampoo we use) affect our health and the environment.

Picture yourself as a changemaker and tell us how you will affect that change.

We will all increase awareness of environmental harms and lead efforts to work against them. As the secretary of the Environmental Club, Jennifer is able to personally organize projects, such as beach cleanups, that will be able to help the environment. She’s also researching green technology as a part of our school’s science research program. Alice has been a part of several environmental projects, especially one working to promote plastic roadways as an additive to the asphalt bitumen roads used today. These roads reuse waste-plastic to mix with asphalt and bitumen, increasing road lifespan and reducing up to 10% of the amount of bitumen, which is made from oil, needed! (The roads themselves are recyclable as well!) Joanne is part of a school online newspaper and has already published articles raising awareness of various environmental issues. She wants to increase the focus on the topic of environmentalism in her school newspaper and community overall by becoming an editor the following year. Richard wants to focus on increasing awareness through creating videos and animations that he can then publish online. He’s working on filming, animating, and editing videos, in addition to writing accompanying music. We will not only work on our own, but as a team again. Working as a team for PGC 2018 has been a great experience, and it will be great to work as a team once more, but with the help of many others as well, of course.