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April 26th, 2024
On Earth Day and Every Day The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes Encourages Youth to Save the Planet

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The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is a national award that celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from across the U.S. and Canada. Established in 2001 by author T. A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people or the environment. Some of the most recent young heroes are working hard to reduce pollution, raise awareness about climate change, combat invasive species and more:

Atreya Manaswi of Florida invented a highly effective, eco-friendly, and inexpensive way to protect honeybee hives from virulent pests. His novel blend derived from beer’s volatile composition eradicates beetle infestation in commercial hives without harming bees or the environment.
Mateo Lange of Michigan created a community recycling program in his small town that has raised over $250,000 for more than 50 local youth organizations. He has recycled over two million bottles and cans and has donated 100% of the proceeds to groups including youth sports teams, Scout troops, and the high school band.

Matias Habib of Illinois developed an eco-friendly pesticide to combat the Japanese Beetle, an invasive species that devastates U.S. agriculture each year. His patent-pending foliage spray, a natural mix of plant oils and amino acids, qualifies as an EPA minimum-risk pesticide.

Nathan Elias of Texas developed an app that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify invasive plant species and predict their spread. The app, which classifies invasive species with an accuracy of 97%, has been deployed to agricultural workers, farmers, and citizen scientists.

Rafi Ahmad of Illinois founded a nonprofit climate justice initiative that addresses environmental racism in his hometown of Chicago through the planting of trees in disadvantaged neighborhoods. He exposes the correlation between historical Redlining and the considerably greater risk of extreme heat and flash flooding faced by low-income and minority communities.

Rory Hu of California conducted yearlong research that yielded a viable way to prevent Colony Collapse Disorder, a problem plaguing beekeepers and threatening the ecosystem.

Shrusti Amula of Maryland works to reduce food waste in her community to feed those in need and combat climate change. Her school food recovery program collects students’ uneaten, unopened food that would otherwise be thrown out – and makes it available to students in need.

Maanit Goel of Washington protects Pacific Northwest orca and salmon. His group of teen volunteers teaches other students that Snake River Chinook salmon face extinction, which threatens the Southern Resident orcas that feed on the fish.

Maya Gowda of Florida created a K-12 climate literacy program that has reached over 100,000 students in 173 schools. Her free, comprehensive curriculum focuses on the impacts of climate change and aligns with National Science Standards.

Sawyer Anderson of North Dakota founded a nonprofit that brings clean water to people in poverty-stricken Zambia. She has written and illustrated Water Works, a children’s book about the water crisis, selling more than 18,000 copies to fund clean water initiatives.

Sriram Bhimaraju of California helps to protect oceans from plastic pollution through new technologies and educational materials. He has invented an electrocoagulation system to remove microplastics from water and hopes it can be used in community wastewater facilities. In lab tests, his device removed nearly 90% of polluting microplastics.

“Nothing is more uplifting than learning about heroic people who have truly made a difference,” says T. A. Barron. “The goal of the Barron Prize is to shine the spotlight on these amazing young people so that their examples will encourage others to take action.”

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About the Barron Prize
Established in 2001 by author T. A. Barron, the Barron Prize is a national award that annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment. Fifteen top winners each receive $10,000 to support their service work or higher education. These young people are as diverse as their service projects. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from a wide variety of backgrounds across the U.S. and Canada. All of them demonstrate heroic character qualities like courage, compassion, and perseverance. Through the years, the Barron Prize has earned the support of Girl Scouts of the USA, The Wilderness Society, Youth Service America, and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, among other organizations. To learn more about the Barron Prize, visit

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