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Skaneateles girl joins Al Gore’s Climate Project

Skaneateles girl joins Al Gore’s Climate Project

Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 

Skaneateles, NY — Olivia Sheppard, who will be an eighth-grader at Manlius Pebble Hill school in the fall, will soon become the youngest person to become a youth presenter for Al Gore’s The Climate Project .

Sheppard, 12, of Skaneateles, will leave Friday for Nashville, where she’ll train with five teenagers from across the U.S. The six have been selected to become presenters for the project’s Inconvenient Youth , founded in 2006 by Gore to tell the public about climate change and how to live “greener.”

When she returns from training, Sheppard will speak at various schools and organizations on climate change. She’s also been asked to be a member of the Inconvenient Youth advisory board, traveling regularly to Nashville to help direct the group’s future.

“I’m so excited,” Sheppard said. “I’ve been preparing ever since, reading books and researching global warming and other environmental issues.”
Sheppard was inspired by the IMAX movie, “The Coral Reef Adventure ,” which got her concerned about the world’s endangered coral reefs. She began researching what led to the problem, and then did a science project on the topic.

“After seeing that movie, I wanted to take action,” she said. “I realized it’s my generation that’s going to have to deal with climate change and all the things that come with it.”

When Al Gore spoke in Syracuse, Olivia was in the audience as the former vice president publicly recognized her school science project on coral reefs. She met him after the talk, and several months later applied to Gore’s original Climate Project.

When she was accepted, her mother, Rebecca Dalton, contacted project officials to let them know she was only 9 years old. That later disqualified her, but Olivia continued to work on and win awards for science projects on cryopreservation (preserving by cooling to sub-zero temperatures) and seed germination at a local science fair.

She’s also been working with a State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry professor doing research on the effect of freezing on seeds. And she and two friends recently raised $450 for oil spill relief by sponsoring a movie night at school.

Three years after she first applied, Inconvenient Youth called to invite Olivia to be a presenter, and she eagerly accepted.

What you can do
We asked Olivia Sheppard for her tips to help the environment:
• Use metal water bottles or travel cups for water. Plastic water bottles are harmful to the environment and can’t be recycled into many new products. More than 47 million gallons of oil are used to make plastic water bottles each year. That increases the carbon dioxide and contributes to the climate crisis.
• Pump up your tires. Check car tire pressure regularly. Low pressure is connected to bigger fuel consumption.
• Get a rainwater barrel. Use it later to water your garden or lawn.