Springside Chestnut Hill Academy rising junior Rekha Dhillon-Richardson received recognition as a U.S. Green School Fellow by attending the weeklong 2015 Student Climate & Conservation Congress (Sc3) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) from June 21 to June 27. Only students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their schools or community are invited to apply.
“The purpose of the camp was to inform and empower a group of young change-makers from all around the country, and even the world, to take action regarding environmental issues that interest them,” Rekha said.
The Sc3 website states that its mission is to “empower outstanding student environmental leaders with the skills, knowledge, and tools to address climate change and natural resource conservation challenges and better serve their schools and communities.”
“I met amazing people, made lasting friendships, learned a tremendous amount, and left with tons of motivation and inspiration,” Rekha said, who has proved to be a worthy recipient through her work in raising awareness about climate change in her school and community.
In the spring, Rekha hosted a Girls Climate Summit at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy as part of her CEL (Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership) Venture Incubator project. The event hosted around 60 girls from schools in the surrounding area who were interested in learning about climate change and its impact on our world. The summit included workshops, speakers, presentations, team-building activities, and thought-provoking conversations.
The purpose of the summit was to raise awareness about climate change, promote youth advocacy, and spark local change in the Greater Philadelphia Area. At the summit, Rekha received the Henry H. Meigs Leadership Award, which is given annually by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education to community leaders who embody a bold new environmental vision for generations to come.
In May, Rekha was selected to be a speaker at TEDxSoleburySchool, which is a one-day event featuring inspirational students who share their passions and ideas regarding key components of change and innovation. Rekha’s interest and passion for educating youth about climate change landed her a spot on their speaker series.
Rekha interned at the David Suzuki Foundation and Justice for Girls in the summer of 2012, presented at the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (regarding climate issues) in the fall of 2012, and went to Toronto in the spring of 2013 to speak to youth about climate issues.
“It was so incredible to connect with people similar to me,” Rekha said. “I learned a lot of factual information about conservation, climate change, and green schools that I cannot wait to bring to SCH. My daylong service project was helping to build a ‘blueprint’ for making a local elementary school more sustainable. Attending this conference also gave me new ideas for the Girls Climate Summit, which I will be hosting again next year.”