EMS student recognized for environmental efforts

Gabrielle DeMarco has taken her environmental message throughout the country.

Young Gabrielle DeMarco has a passion for protecting the environment and has gone to great lengths to share her enthusiasm – from a Seattle stage in front of 16,000 people to a Chicago arena and 15,000 more. Most recently, her passion was fueled at an Arizona summer camp designed for young people at the forefront of the green movement.

Gabrielle, who will be an eighth-grader at Enumclaw Middle School in the fall, returned Sunday from the Windsong Peace and Leadership Center in Patagonia, Ariz. During a one-week stay, she was introduced to issues concerning the environment, sustainability and how schools can stay on the path of an earth-friendly future.

To earn her trip, Gabrielle was honored with the Bright Future Award, sponsored by Unilever and its Sunlight Foundation.

But Arizona was just the latest stop for the young Enumclaw activist, who recently turned 13.

She shared her passion for the environment during Seattle’s We Day, an annual convention at Key Arena attended by approximately 16,000 student leaders from throughout the region. From there, she spoke April 30 at the We Day event in Chicago. In Illinois, she shared the stage with celebrity Selena Gomez and won a 15-day trip to Ecuador and the Amazon rain forest that she will take perhaps next summer, maybe the following year.

Additionally, Gabrielle will be included in a segment ABC television is doing on the We Day movement. The broadcast is planned for 8 p.m. Aug. 21.

In applying for the Unilever award, Gabrielle wrote: “Many people think our world’s problems are too big for us to solve. I know differently. Individuals, united with other individuals, can change the world.”

She then detailed how students at Enumclaw Middle School placed compost and recycle bins in the school lunchroom; educated others on sustainable waste elimination; and helped elementary students in the district understand environmentally-friendly food waste options. With fellow classmates, she initiated an energy sustainability campaign to remind students to turn off the lights at school and home and to wear coats.