4/6/2011 1:36:02 PM

The Ripple Effect

Courtney FreyhaufNow here's a teen worth shouting about: Courtney Freyhauf, one of our Leadership Camp grads, is so passionate about saving polar bears that she recently spearheaded a leadership camp of her own to inspire fellow teens to take action.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, part of PBI's Arctic Ambassador Center network, hosted the camp, which attracted 30 high school students and five adult advisors, plus an enthusiastic group of Zoo Crew teen volunteers.

During Courtney's conference, they:

  • Gained leadership skills
  • Learned what it means to be a steward
  • Explored the challenges faced by our planet and its wildlife

The teens then formed groups to develop forward action plans. Their goal? To use the information gained to put together a conservation program in their school and/or community.

As part of the camp, teens began putting their goals into action by:

  • Competing in aluminum can and cell phone collections to help keep these out of landfills.
  • Collecting and bringing in bottle caps for recycling, resulting in a total of 3,787 bottle caps in two weeks!

Teens picking up litterFinally, to motivate teens to get involved, Courtney organized a service project to pick up litter. "It's amazing how much we throw away," she says.

The teens cleaned up the hillside behind the zoo parking lot. In the process, they collected about 20 bags of waste and recycled about 500 pounds of scrap metal.

"I wanted to share this," she told PBI, "to further inspire the youth of the world and to thank PBI for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I had in 2009 to go to Churchill and gain the knowledge, skills, and passion to put on this conference."

Courtney received assistance from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo staff, Zoo Crew teen volunteers and presenters; as well as grant support from Metroparks ECO Green Project Fund.

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