A colleague of mine suggested I read about a runner-up President’s Environmental Youth Award applicant named Jordyn. I started reading Jordyn’s application and thought to myself, “wow, she was a runner-up?”, she should be named the young environmentalist of the year!
After reading that 80% of waterways tested in 30 states had trace amounts of pharmaceuticals and hearing about “pharm parties,” where teens bring pills from home, mix them in a bowl, and blindly take a couple, Jordyn decided to take action! Jordyn, a freshman at the time, decided to create WI P2D2 (Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal) to educate her town about prescription-drug abuse and environmentally safe pill disposal.
Jordyn used some amazingly inventive communication tools to deliver her message including; a “Phil the Pill” costume, and a clear glass of water in which she placed pills and asked her audience if they would now like to take a drink. None of them did!
She secured a community drop-box for unwanted pills, used Facebook, YouTube, and T-shirts to get the word out, and persuaded local pharmacists and police officers to help.
Jordyn is the first teen to have written and been awarded state and local grants to secure funds for a drug collection event. At her first event, Jordyn collected an astonishing 440 pounds of drugs! Her accomplishments have been featured in numerous media outlets in both America and Canada.
Jordyn’s program is a perfect example of a multi-disiplinary solution to a multi-faceted local problem. If even a small percentage of the upcoming generations are as successful at improving their environment as Jordyn, I believe the environment will be in great hands. It strikes me that if a teenager can accomplish so much, as adult environmentalists we should follow her example, and never accept anything but complete success. Maybe we can convince her to work for EPA one day!
About the author: Wendy Dew has been with EPA for 13 years and is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8.