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Mount Albert youth, Melissa Cusack-Striepe wins environment award

East Gwillimbury Express,
Simon Martin,
October 23 2015

Mount Albert resident Melissa Cusack-Striepe keeps piling up the awards.

Earlier this year, she won [the] Neighbourhood Network 2015 Give Back Award but the accolades don’t stop there.

Last week, she earned the Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist award as part of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Awards, which honoured 20 individuals, businesses and groups who work selflessly to better the environment.

People protect what they love and Cusack-Striepe is no different. Her love of nature has transformed her into a passionate advocate for the ecosystems she adores.

She has been on the Ontario Nature Youth Council for the past five years advocating for different important environmental issues. Right now, the council is in the midst of a campaign to protect Ontario’s pollinators, Melissa said.

The council members delivered more than 1,200 signed postcards to Queen’s Park, asking the premier to restrict the use of neonicotinoids, which are insecticides linked to declining bee populations.

Bees are extremely important to the ecosystem, Melissa said, noting they pollinate many crops.

While bans of neonicotinoids have already taken place in Europe, Melissa said they remain a problem in Canada, even though the province recently pledged to reduce their use.

“For me, it is really important to make change on a local and, hopefully, global scale,” she said.

As corporations in Canada and around the globe mine the Earth for valuable resources, governments have not done enough to preserve what we have, Melissa said.

“I do get frustrated,” she said. “It gets to me.”

Aurora Mayor and LSRCA chairperson Geoff Dawe congratulated all the winners at the event last week.

“They are the true agents of change and an inspiration to each and every one of us,” he said.

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