Grade 12 students Claudia Crocker, of Islands Consolidated School and Thomas King, of Shelburne Regional High School, were two of seven scholarship winners from the Divert NS Champion of the Environment scholarship program.
King won the provincial award for $5,000 and Crocker was one of six regional winners of $2,500.
Alanna MacPhee is the Director of Programs & Development for Divert NS. The organization aims to promote recycling in Nova Scotia.
This is the first year of this scholarship program, which MacPhee said was created to recognize youth who are committed to working on environment-related initiatives in their communities.
She said Crocker and King were both prime candidates for the awards.
King was also surprised to learn he’d won the provincial honour.
“I was really hoping to get a regional award since I knew it was a really close competition. I had no idea I’d win – it really means a lot,” he said.
King is the chair of his school’s Environment Club, where he initiated beach sweeps and garbage pickups among other things.
He also started a petition against the deforestation of Keijimkujik Park and collected hundreds of signatures from his fellow students.
“Keiji is such a beautiful place with delicate ecosystems and endangered species… so the petition was the best way to show the government our concerns,” he said.
After a move from Vancouver to Shelburne at the age of seven, King said the beautiful forests of Nova Scotia, along with his environmentally-minded parents, are what spurred his own interests in the environment.
King will attend McGill University this fall and is majoring in architecture. He said he plans on combining what he learns with his passion for the environment.
“Architecture and design can be directly correlated to sustainability and the environment. I want to work with sustainable designs, green buildings and energy saving ideas,” he said.
Crocker won the regional prize for the Digby/Yarmouth counties region.
“I was definitely surprised, for sure – it’s a good feeling and it’s nice to be recognized for all the effort I’ve made,” she said. Crocker wrote an essay for the competition and submitted a portfolio of her various involvements relating to the environment. It’s an issue she’s held dear for years. “I’ve done a lot of different things around the community. I’ve always helped as much as I can, so it’s nice to get a payoff for years of hard work,” she said. Crocker will pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Acadia University. She plans to eventually enrol in medical school to become a family doctor and is looking to come home to Digby and practice here.
Despite not pursuing environment studies professionally, she said she will continue to be involved on the side.
“Without our environment we’re kind of toast – without keeping things clean and helping it out we’ll go in a downward spiral,” she said. “I’m very grateful for this award. I’m going to keep working in my community to keep our environment clean.”
About Divert NS
Divert NS is planning a road show to each winning student’s community. The organization says the calibre of the students who applied for this year’s award was very impressive and the scholarship program will continue.