News / USA

Florida Teen Honored for Conservation Efforts

Avalon Theisen, 14, of Florida was honored with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her conservation work.
Avalon Theisen, 14, of Florida was honored with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her conservation work.
TEXT SIZE - +
Faiza Elmasry
In April, Avalon Theisen, 11, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.

“This year we created something that I don’t think had ever been done before," Avalon says. "We videoed 347 people and one happy dog and created Florida’s largest human frog chorus to raise awareness for amphibian conservation."

That would be humans making frog-like noises.

Through her website, and Conserve It Forward, the non-profit she founded two years ago, Theisen raises money for conservation, inspires other kids to take care of the natural world and shares her passion for protecting frogs.

“I’m always adding new programs to ‘Conserve It Forward’ and looking for new ways to help the environment as well as ways for others to get involved," she says. "Some of my ideas are to start a snake conservation program for little kids, say just from pre-school to second grade. I really love snakes. They are actually my favorite animal.”
Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.
x
Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.
Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.

Theisen's efforts were recognized this year. She is being honored with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. The annual award, established by children’s book author T. A. Barron, honors young leaders, between eight and 18 years old, who are making a difference in the world.

Barron says the prize recognizes that even children can make the world a better place. “That’s the truth, but most young people don’t know that or if they heard of it they wouldn’t believe it.”

That’s why Barron started the prize 12 years ago. The winners receive $2500 to support their education or service project.

Honorees have to meet certain criteria, according to Barron. That includes a genuine sense of passion about a problem that affects humanity or the environment; a real and lasting commitment to try to make a difference; and effectiveness, measurable results of a project that has actually made a difference.

The prize is named for Barron’s mother.

“She was a teacher," he says. "She taught at a Colorado school for the blind. She always believed that every person could somehow make a difference.”

Like Barron's mother, this year’s honorees have made a difference in a wide range of areas.

“We have a boy who developed a solar lantern that’s now being used in villages in East Africa, that can light homes effectively and no energy needed," he says. "We have a girl who is developing sustainable farming techniques at her farm. We have a boy who developed puzzles that can help older people with Alzheimer’s to reclaim their ability to remember.”
 
Barron notes that, although the Young Heroes have different interests and backgrounds, they all possess self-confidence.

“The one thing that's really in common is a sense of themselves as a bundle of energy that could be turned  toward positive good and help other people” he says.

And, he adds, they have family support, parents who encourage them to turn their dreams into action, and to realize they really can change the world.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Avalon Theisen was 14 years old. VOA regrets the error.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark A. Cook from: Dunnellon, Florida, USA
October 19, 2012 7:04 PM
While that is a great article about a great young lady, you all have her age wrong. She is 11, a few months short of 12, not 14.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid