Young environmentalist wins ,500 to implement local solutions to reduce monarch butterfly population
2 mins read

Young environmentalist wins $4,500 to implement local solutions to reduce monarch butterfly population

Cynthia Zhang, a junior at Great Neck South High School, received a $2,000 scholarship from True Blue Fellowship, an international Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program that engages youth in environmental conservation and preservation through the arts. She also received a $2,500 scholarship from EarthEcho International OurEcho Challenge, an innovative competition that engages young people in preserving the diversity of species and ecosystems that support life on Earth.

The funding and financial support Cynthia has received will help her implement the Monarchs Matter project over the next year.

The eastern monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80 percent in the past 30 years due to climate change, pesticides and deforestation. To help protect vulnerable monarch butterflies by restoring their habitat, contributing to monarch monitoring studies and promoting environmental awareness and action, Monarchs Matter was created.

Regionally, the nonprofit Monarchs Matter funds and mentors young conservationists to build monarch shelters in their schools and regional Monarchs Matter chapters. Globally, Monarchs Matter raises awareness and encourages sustainable practices through social media, educational webinars and its official website.

Cynthia currently hosts the Raise, Tag and Release (RTR) Summer Program in partnership with ReWild Long Island. The program has helped distribute 100 milkweed plants—a primary food source for the monarch—to over 30 summer program students to add biodiversity to their gardens. The young participants gain hands-on experience raising monarchs from egg to butterfly to support research on monarch tagging.

The RTR programme has a positive impact on the environment and helps new generations connect with the environment and better understand their role in building a sustainable future.

“The Bow Seat Youth Leadership Council created a scholarship program designed to empower peers to support our environment and our shared future,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “We are thrilled to welcome Cynthia as a 2024 scholarship recipient. She is one of eight other scholarship recipients from around the world who are dedicated and passionate about taking action to protect our blue planet. We look forward to working with these inspiring young leaders in the new year to help their projects grow and make a difference in their communities.”

“It’s a true honor to witness the incredible passion, dedication, and ingenuity of this new generation of young climate advocates and problem solvers,” said EarthEcho International founder Philippe Cousteau Jr. “We often talk about the difference young people can make in the future,