14-Year-Old Virginia Student Educates Youth About Composting
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14-Year-Old Virginia Student Educates Youth About Composting

The Climate Leaders Fellowship is a leadership development program for students interested in climate change and environmental sustainability. The online program is provided by a collaboration between the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab and the Rustic Pathways Foundation.

Junnah participated in the 2023 spring cycle of the Climate Leaders Fellowship. Read all about his project and experience below!

Junnah Sheikh
Age 14
Sidwell Friends School
McLean, Virginia

My name is Junnah Sheikh and I live in Virginia. I am 14 years old and love ice skating and reading. In this fellowship, I was addressing issues with waste in my community by promoting composting.

For my project, I promoted composting by building a compost bin at my house and educating the youth in my community on how to compost. In doing this, they learned how to compost as well as how to build their very own compost bins. I emailed a group of students in the area and organized two separate meetings at my house so they could learn more about composting.

During our first meeting, we discussed what they already knew about composting and their own motivations for lessening our waste. At the second meeting, we built sustainable compost bins and discussed what is and is not compostable.

Throughout my project, my goal was to engage with the youth of my community because they are the future of the environment. I care about the health of our environment for future generations so I wanted to encourage youth to help make a difference. Every person counts and this could possibly lead to a healthier future.

The people who I connected with reported positive outcomes from composting over the next few weeks. They said that the compost bin allowed them to realize the waste they had unwillingly released to landfills and actually take action on it.

Participating in the Climate Leaders Fellowship made me feel like I was doing something to contribute to stopping the climate crisis. I am proud of the work I have done to support my community.

About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.