ACE is thrilled to announce that our very own alumna, Celeste Tinajero of Sparks, Nevada, has won a 2015 Brower Youth Award.
The Brower Youth Awards are given annually by the Earth Island Institute’s New Leaders Initiative to six young environmental activists from North America, ages 13 to 22, for their outstanding efforts to promote ecological sustainability and social justice.
Celeste, now 20 and a high school graduate, has worked closely with ACE over the past five years since her sophomore year at Reed High School. That year, following an ACE Assembly at the school, students formed the Eco Warriors, the school’s first ever green club.
Celeste’s older brother, Hector, was one of the founding members of the Eco Warriors. Celeste attended her first club meeting as a favor to her brother, but soon became engrossed in their work, rising to club president in her junior and senior years.
The Eco Warriors are now recognized as the most active club at Reed High and as a model for other green clubs in the Washoe County School District. In their first year, they won first prize in the GREENevada Student Sustainability Summit, bringing in $12,000 to green their school’s bathrooms. GREENevada is a coalition of organizations (including ACE) that works to foster sustainability through environmental education in northern Nevada.
With the grant money, the Eco Warriors renovated the school bathrooms. The club installed low-flow faucets and toilets, auto-sensor lights, and air hand dryers, which cut down waste and conserved water, energy, and money. The following year, the Eco Warriors raised money to install a water bottle refilling station in their school, despite the difficulties and cost of removing asbestos from the school walls. To date, the hydration station has saved an estimated 37,000 single-use water bottles from being used. Celeste championed both these projects, as well as several more, to fruition.
After graduation, Celeste attended Truckee Meadows Community College where she studied education and environmental science, while working to educate local elementary students about renewable energy at fellow GREENevada member, Black Rock Solar.
Celeste is currently serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, another GREENevada member, where she develops curriculum and teaches on water and waste conservation.
I've had the pleasure of working closely with Celeste myself for five years. She is at once one of the most passionate and optimistic people I know, but she also brings the drive and perseverance to see her dreams through. She has already accomplished so much in her school and her community, and is so deserving of this Brower Youth Award. Personally, I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
Celeste, along with five other young environmental leaders, will be honored at the 16th Annual Brower Youth Awards on October 20 in San Francisco. ACE will be there to cheer her on!