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UNITY Earth Ambassador’s determination for change

UNITY Earth Ambassador, Kaylene Nevaquaya, launched her environmental project in early September. She began with a letter to her tribe’s (Comanche Nation) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place recycling bins around the community. The head director of the EPA, Lynn Schonchin, responded positively and has offered to help her with other projects.

“Now our people in our tribal homelands are starting  to recycle, not only tribal members, but non tribal members in each community, to include Elgin, Apache, Lawton and Walters. People are utilizing the recycling bins.” Kaylene enthusiastically explained. “This project has made a positive impact on my community. There are people out there that really take advantage of opportunities that can help the earth. It can be a small movement or a big movement, either way they both matter. “I believe any action taken from anybody can have an impact. Taking action is very inspirational and it can spread more movements that can cause a positive change.”

Kaylene graduated from Elgin High School in 2019 and is a freshman at Oklahoma State University. She says, “I’m recycling myself and still practicing eco-friendly habits, as much as I can. It’s hard to do it in college and being away from home, because most of the food here is wrapped in plastic or packaged in plastic; which creates more waste. It makes it hard to live an eco friendly lifestyle in college, but they have a recycling program that has a place for plastic waste”. Kaylene is aspiring to live the “Zero Waste” way.

Kaylene’s experience and success with her community has inspired her to initiate more eco friendly projects and she realizes it will take some time to schedule events and actually acting on her plans. Her future project is a tree planting event for the Comanche Nation in the spring time when the weather is nice. Recently she has initiated a trash pickup after home football games on the OU campus, but the weather has gotten colder; which discourages participation. Regardless, Kaylene is determined to advocate for the environment.