Action For Nature recently announced the winners of its 2019 International Young Eco-Hero Awards, with two Indian Americans as well as two Indian-origin submissions earning honors.

The Eco-Hero Awards recognize young people 8 to 16 years old – split into age groups 8-12 and 13-16 – for their environmental achievements.

Named in the younger group was Kedar Narayan, a 10-year-old from Pennsylvania, who came in third place in the age group for his “BuzzBuddy” submission.

When Kedar found out that pollinators are on the decline, he wanted to learn how to help. He learned about pollinator gardens and decided to create an App “Pollinator for a Pet” that teaches people how to plant native pollinator gardens and make an impact, according to his bio.

His App lists 90 different plants that can be sorted by season, color, pollinators, bloom season, plant type, light, size and drainage conditions. It also has information on types of pollinators, their food, water, shelter and safety needs as well as some designs for creating a backyard pollinator patch, the organization said.

Kedar also conducted local plant sales and found that people in his community didn’t even know what “native” plants are and why they are important. He started a YouTube channel called BUZZBUDDY where he posts educational raps about native plants and explains what they do and how easy they are to care for, Action For Nature said.

Recently, Kedar went to the zoo to monitor the health of penguins. He was shocked to learn that penguins are on the endangered list along with many other species.

“It is important to educate my generation because we are going to be the next ones doing all these things,” he said in the organization report. 

Kedar is now focusing on making a video game about conservation to continue to educate his peers about the environmental issues we face and what we can do to solve them. 

In the older age group, Arya Bairat, 16, of Connecticut, was named the third-place finisher for he “BaiSolutions: Environmental Teaching Sustainability & Irrigation” solution.

Arya is a young entrepreneur who has set up his own think tank he has named BaiSolutions to address environmental teaching, sustainability and irrigation.

While visiting India, Arya teamed up with individuals who put him in touch with small scale farmers in a rural area. He learned that the suicide rate among rural farmers whose crops fail and who are therefore unable to feed their families is high. Also widows of farmers have to resort to any means possible to feed their families, the organization reports. 

Arya developed what he calls an AWD (Alternative Wetting and Drying) water irrigation system which conserves water and he introduced this to youth and farmers. Through this volunteer effort he met people from a Save Our Farmers group and partnered with them, it said.

Besides working with some 25 local farmers, he also volunteered with a local school, presenting his ideas to some 1,000 schoolchildren. He provided extensive knowledge through lectures, demonstrations, projected-presentations and pamphlets distributed throughout the community, the report says. 

Now back in the U.S., he keeps in touch with his Indian contacts and plans to expand his projects this year. Arya’s AWD system is easy to install using inexpensive and readily available materials and saves precious water drop by drop. Such efforts are imperative in a world that has a growing population and a diminishing quantity of water. 

“It is our responsibility to educate others to perform actions that are just and beneficial to the natural world,” he says.

In addition to the Indian American winners, there were two submissions – both in the older age group – that were honored in the competition.

Vihaan and Nav Agarwal, 12- and 15-year-old brothers from India, were the second-place finishers for their “One Step Greener” submission.

One Step Greener trains people how to segregate their waste at source and provides a monthly scheduled pick up of dry waste.

What started with actions in their own home in February 2017 spread to 15 homes, and now reaches 400-plus homes in seven colonies in Delhi. Over 1,600 people are now actively segregating their waste.

Adithiyan Rajan Indira Saravanan, 16, of the United Arab Emirates, also received an honorable mention for his “We Care Campaign.”

Through his “We Care” campaign he has inspired and led other youth to create awareness, advocate green practices and to lead by example. High on the list of activities is planting trees and promoting a No Plastics program, which has reached over 1,000 people in the past four years. Adithiyan wants people to know that everyone must protect and preserve nature to secure a sustainable future.

“We hope the accomplishments of these outstanding young people will inspire many others to preserve and protect the Earth upon which all life depends,” Action for Nature said.

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