Puja Vengadasalam, a junior at West Windsor High School South won the Jefferson award for Volunteerism and Public service gold medal for environment stewardship project, EcoCamp, on May 19, 2019. EcoCamp incorporated “Eco” and “camp” elements and used STEAM teaching methods“ to create a a ripple of sustainable change.EcoCampers learned about environmental science through activities and science experiments in the camp that were tested through the quizzes and games held each day. As one key problem and solution for each biome each day, Ecocampers did not feel overwhelemed, but inspired to make a difference through one key action in each category of pollution-land, water, air, noise and light.
Since EcoCampers made and recorded pledges as well as created earth art and recycle crafts each day, an exhibition was organized on showcase day. From their passion and learning about how to channel their love for the earth through words, art, craft and action, EcoCamp participants became earth advocates for life. They will be responsible about polluting the land—will move from plastic to paper bags, will not throw away medicines into the trash or waste water, plant and preserve trees and not leave lights on or contribute to noise pollution levels. They will do whatever they can to protect species that are going extinct. Due to the display and demonstration of the Tesla, they are not just knowledgeable but are also likely to use green fuels and electric cars.
Transcript of Video of award speech @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QstY_4tYm8s&feature=youtu.be
You need one hundred hours for a Girl Scout gold project. However Puja Vengadasalam she went far beyond that requirement for Ecocamp, her environmental stewardship project in South Plainfield. Puja invested more than two hundred and fifty volunteer hours in creating an EcoCamp workshop, showcase and website. She explained to young enrolled students all about the five pollution categories and highlighted how their behaviors can make any difference each day. She involved in local businesses, Mayor and parents in promoting environmental stewardship. For her interest and achievement in promoting environmental stewardship in her community in the Borough of South Plainfield, Puja is the recipient of 20119 PSERG Environmental stewardship Jefferson gold medal.