Next up are two eco-minded people that have shown us what it takes to make a difference - Tom Wiercioch and Leehi Yona.
#14 TOMASZ WIERCIOCH.
Tomasz has been particularly active on water issues facing Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario, to which he has been able to apply communications skills gained through his studies at McMaster University.
With Hamilton’s Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC), he has taken organized events, taken photographs and helped to administer to key programming for the area, including Stream of Dreams initiatives, Adopt-A-Creek and Cattail plantings with the Royal Botanical Gardens. And by coordinating with McMaster’s Communications Studies program, Wiercioch conducted an in-depth analysis of BARC’s environmental programs and established a communications internship with the Council. The former allowed BARC to re-align its priorities and become a more effective organization overall. He also analyzed BARC’s presence in local media, and conducted a survey on citizens’ knowledge of issues facing Hamilton Harbour.
Wiercioch was personally responsible for creating the Don’t Feed the Waterfowl campaign for Hamilton’s Bayfront Park, which later expanded into LaSalle Marina in Burlington.
His experience was also able to benefit Burlington Green. He drafted a founding communications plan for the Burlington Green, and also participated in a number of the group’s ‘invasive species pulls.’
It was with Wiercioch’s work that issues facing marine ecosystems were both effectively communicated to the public and acted upon. Preeya Raja, board member of BARC and Tom’s nominator, explained that “Tom’s involvement as an environmental volunteer and advocate is inspiring to many.”
#13 LEEHI YONA.
Hailing from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, Leehi has been heavily involved in environmental campaigns through her time in both high school and at Marianopolis College in Westmount, Quebec.
In 2011, she worked as the City of Dollard-des-Ormeaux’s one-woman Green Patrol. That summer, she reached out to more than 3000 residents, raising awareness of local environmental concerns.
It was also in that summer that she became Founder and President of the Green Schools Coalition of Montreal, which sought to connect the environmental groups of the city’s elementary and high schools. At Marianopolis College, Leehi has also been serving as Co-President of the Green Team, through which she has been raising awareness and making change on campus. As a member of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition since 2010, she has been campaigning and lobbying on environmental concerns.
Leehi’s accomplishments - both within and outside the environmental sphere - have not gone unrecognized. Over the last few years, she has received a number of awards. Her highlights in 2010 include the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Youth Medal, the West Island College Head Girl Award and the Montreal Lakeshore Rotary Club Alan Liddiard Memorial Scholarship for Academic Achievement, Community, Commitment, and Public Speaking. In 2011, she received the Marianopolis College Student Life Award, was a national finalist for the Youth in Motion Top 20 Under Twenty Award and made the waitlist for the youth delegation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference.