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Chesterland, Ohio, Youth Recognized as Eco-Hero; 14-Year-Old Works to Save Ohio Brook Trout


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Chesterland, Ohio, Youth Recognized as Eco-Hero; 14-Year-Old Works to Save Ohio Brook Trout


Karoline Evin McMullen, 14, presented with the 2005 International Young Eco-Hero Award


1 p.m., Sunday, August 14


The West Woods Nature Center, 9465 Kinsman Road (Rt. 87), Novelty, OH 44072


Teens attending Scienteens: Save our Streams: Our Local Brook Trout"

Award certificate presented by Dottie Mathiott, Geauga Park District naturalist.


Karoline Evin McMullen has received the Action For Nature International Youth Eco-Hero Award as a result of her efforts to educate neighbors, teachers and fellow students about the importance of watershed management and the preservation of the Ohio brook trout.

The 14-year-old will be presented with an award at 1 p.m. at The West Woods Nature Center on Sunday, August 14 at 9465 Kinsman Road (Rt. 87) in Novelty. The presentation will be the prelude to “Scienteens: Save our Streams: Our Local Brook,” a hands-on nature education program offered by Geauga Park District for teens ages 12-17. The Eco-Hero award will be presented by Dottie Mathiott, Geauga Park District naturalist.

McMullen was one of three Hawken School girls who founded Save Our Stream (SOS) to help save one of the last reproducing populations of brook trout remaining in the state of Ohio. Because the brook trout is an indicator of the health of a stream, its struggle is an important warning sign, especially in a community where residents drink water from wells and rely on septic systems for sewage disposal.

“This project took a holistic approach to help residents understand that only a collective effort will preserve the Ohio brook trout in these fragile habitats,” McMullen said. “By focusing on homeowners and teens, we are working to improve stream quality and habitat for the long term.”

One goal of SOS is to have the brook trout numbers increase to such an extent that they are removed from the threatened species list. Although SOS’ education efforts have been reaching many residents of the watershed, the population of brook trout continues to dwindle.

“Because I teach people about ensuring sustainable living, my suggestions, about how to reduce flooding, continued availability of potable well water and reduce erosion, bring additional benefits to local residents,” McMullen added.

The three Hawken students have accomplished so much due to their hard work and determination. In addition, collaborations have helped them achieve their goals many organizations have provided assistance to SOS. McMullen says, “You don’t need a huge number of people to make change, nor do you need to be an adult. If you work hard enough towards your goal, you will be able to achieve it and people will help you along the way.”

McMullen is one of nine youth (ages 9-16) to receive the 2005 International Young Eco-Hero Award, presented annually by Action For Nature, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco. Seven of the winners are from the U.S. The international awardees are from India and Kenya.

AFN is an environmental, educational and advocacy non-profit organization. Based in San Francisco, California, AFN’s goal is to encourage young people to take personal action to nurture and protect a healthy environment on which all life depends.

Hawken School is an independent, nonsectarian, coed day school of approximately 960 students, grades pre-K through 12, located on two campuses in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. Founded in 1915, Hawken is recognized as one of the premier college preparatory schools in the nation with a diverse student body participating in a challenging program of academics, arts, and athletics.


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