Young Environmentalists of Year honored at state fair

Gov. John Carney, left, and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin give Laurel’s Charli Evans a big thumbs-up as DNREC’s Elementary School Young Environmentalist of the Year at the Delaware State Fair. Submitted photo/DNREC

HARRINGTON — Five dedicated Delaware students were honored for their work to protect, restore or enhance the state’s natural resources at the Delaware State Fair on Thursday as Gov. John Carney and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced this year’s recipients of the DNREC Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards.

“Every Delawarean, no matter their age, can have an impact in protecting and conserving our natural resources, while also raising awareness for environmental stewardship,” Mr. Garvin said. “At ages 7 to 16, these young people have taken a stand as environmental advocates who are already making a difference today for a better tomorrow.

“We are inspired by the award winners’ dedication to making our state a better place to live through their time and talents, and we look forward to seeing what they will do in the years to come.”

Elementary school recipient:

• Charli Rose Evans, age 7, of Laurel, practices self-sustaining farming techniques, growing food for her family and saving the seeds to replant her garden, which also helps feed her chickens, ducks and goats. Charli even makes her own garden fertilizer by composting food waste to mix with manure from her animals.

Middle school recipients:

• Lilyan Farris, age 10, of Bridgeville, is dedicated to “reduce, reuse and recycle” to help children in need, by collecting and cleaning used books, board games, puzzles, art supplies and bicycles. Lilyan has kept more than 3,000 books out of landfills to stock Little Free Libraries and rescued 25 bicycles last year for an organization that collects and fixes up used bikes.

• Catherine Shapiro, age 14, of Wilmington, is a student leader in Springer Middle School’s Energy Club, with activities including conducting a school energy audit, organizing an eco event, advocating water conservation and carbon footprint reduction, and surveying biodiversity and pollinators.

High school recipients:

• Noor Boukari, age 16, of Dover, advocates for sustainability, conducted an award-winning study on bee population decline and received national recognition for her panel discussion and interviews on “Women and Green Futures” at Social Builders US.

• Maisie Donohue, age 15, of Wilmington, is an environmental activist who is passionate about climate change education and environmentally friendly diets. Maisie served on the YES! Committee to plan a youth summit for 1,000 students in February and is an accomplished public speaker and budding lobbyist, participating in events such the University of Delaware’s Youth Climate Strike last fall.

Now in its 27th year, DNREC’s Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards program recognizes Delaware students whose actions have helped protect, restore or enhance our natural resources by initiating an innovative project, practicing environmental stewardship, increasing public awareness or demonstrating environmental ethics. For more information, visit dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/young-environmentalists.