The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy

7 March, 2017
The Nature Works Ambassadors
Be Inspired By Young Environmental Leaders
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In a bustling city facing urban and pollution issues, not only is Hong Kong’s youth becoming more aware of environmental issues and the need for nature conservation, some have stepped up to take action with the hope of making our city truly sustainable.

To foster their interest in conservation, students participated in the Nature Works Hong Kong Environmental Innovation and Leadership Program, developed and organized by The Nature Conservancy. As part of the program, the most outstanding students were selected to become Nature Works Ambassadors to raise awareness for nature, as well as share their experiences, inspiring more teenagers to join Nature Works and carry-on the mission.

The 2015 and 2016 Nature Works Ambassadors included Astin Lau, Elin Chan, Jing-Chen Fok, Sabrina Chann and Stephanie Yeung. Their stories and projects are inspirational, and they have a true passion for making Hong Kong a sustainable city.

Elin Chan (Sha Tin College) from team Eco-Gladiators, produced and sold an eco-friendly multi-use cleaning product named Fruity Clean. Made from discarded fruit peels, Fruity Clean can be used for hand washing, dish washing and floor cleaning. The team’s goals are clear – remind people to reduce food waste and educate them that commercial detergent can be harmful to skin as well as the environment. Palm oil is a common ingredient in detergent, which is a major cause of deforestation that can bring about other devastating issues such as habitat degradation, climate change and endangerment of wildlife species. Eco-Gladiators have successfully sold their products at the Discovery Bay Handmade Bazaar and continue to teach primary school students how to make their own fruit-skin detergent at home. Chan said her Nature Works experience was what kept her going with the project despite her busy school life. “Persistency is key, and by taking small steps, I can contribute to helping conserve our environment”.

Jing-Chen Fok (Sha Tin College) was stunned by the size of the carbon footprint of the city’s food imports. So, he joined the team Eco-Roots, whose objective was to promote food sustainability through education on social media, along with encouraging schools to start their own container gardens to grow simple fruits or herbs. Jing-Chen believed that even through a small project, he and his team could start conserving the environment one step at a time. “If you start little-by-little, and passionately pursue something you believe in, I feel it’s possible to make a difference,” says Jing-Chen.

Sabrina Chann (Independent Schools Foundation Academy) and her team Donut Waste started a campaign “Bellies Not Bins” with the aim to promote sustainable, innovative and interactive solutions to reduce food waste in schools. Their strategy included improving the quality of cafeteria food, promoting the use of food composters and holding competitive inter-house events to encourage students to minimize food leftovers. They also raised awareness through their Facebook page and even weighed the food waste of her school’s cafeteria after lunch! For Chann, her key learning from the program was on leadership development. “It has given me a taste of working in the real world – from turning an idea into a real and feasible project, to managing a group of people with different skill sets and personal goals,” says Sabrina.

Last but not least, Stephanie Yeung (Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School) from Team Save Turtles was passionate about protecting marine wildlife. She and her team focused on raising awareness on how ocean plastic waste can be detrimental to all sea creatures. They organized beach cleanups and talked about the negative impacts of plastic pollution on turtles and other marine animals, especially how turtles become entangled in plastic or ingest waste that can cause death. “Communication is always a two-way street, but we have to take the initiative to start the conversation, whether it be asking for help from my teammates or conveying a message to the public,” Yeung shared, was a key learning from the program that has benefitted her in becoming an environmental leader.

The success of Nature Works in the last two academic years has been encouraging, and the future of environmental conservation is certainly promising with Hong Kong’s youth. Visit Nature Works to see how you can support these Nature Works Ambassadors in the conservation of our city.

The 2017 Nature Works program is open for registration now until April 7, 2017, click here to sign up.

By: Natalie Yiu and Michele Hui, The Nature Conservancy
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