Every student that I come by, I make sure to show and emphasize my passion for teaching them, learning from them, and my love for our Earth.
Loam is excited to launch the very first in our "Passion Project" series. Our intention with this column is to connect you to kickass environmental activists across the country. We hope their stories will inspire you to nurture the ecosystem that you are a part of as well as to embrace your own passion projects. As our interviewees illuminate, there are so many ways to be an agent of change.
We're grateful today to talk to the incredible Celeste Tinajero of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. A recent Brower Youth Award winner and a Waste Warrior, Celeste has been working passionately and persistently since high school to cultivate a culture of environmental consciousness in her native Nevada. She's a reminder to all of us to do everything we do wholeheartedly. Read on to learn more about this powerhouse's passion project.
What do you do?
I work for a non-profit called Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB). As the education program coordinator, I visit local at-risk or poverty level schools and educate them on how they can affect their community by reducing the amount of waste they contribute to landfills, how using the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) can be implemented in their lives at home and at school, and ways they can become Waste Warriors and battle litter and illegal dumping in our community.
Why do you do it?
Since I was little, I have dreamed of being a teacher. Every educator I have had, from kindergarten all the way through high school, inspired me in some way to find my way in their position. All my life I knew I loved learning, but it wasn't until high school that I found an important issue that I could fuse both of my passions together -- environmental education. Luckily, I was able to fulfill my biggest dream by getting jobs with a couple of local non-profits. In my first teaching job with Black Rock Solar, I taught about the benefits of renewable energy, specifically solar, and the science on how solar energy works. KTMB is my current teaching job that I mentioned above.
How do you do it?
I do it wholeheartedly! Every student that I come by, I make sure to show and emphasize my passion for teaching them, learning from them, and my love for our Earth. I make sure no one is left out, every one can speak up and have a voice like I encourage them to and I make sure my presentation is engaging and fun for everyone. I do very little writing on the board and lots and lots of discussing. I like to make it more of a conversation with my fellow little friends.
Who do you do it for?
I do this work for the next generation. I want the kids that I teach to implement these values into their lives while they are young so that they can take this back to their homes after school, and eventually to their own families in the future. I do this work for our Earth who needs us to be her voice and fight for her. I do this work for myself. I am refreshed, enlightened and inspired time and time again after interacting with such enthusiastic students. When I leave classrooms, I always get the same response. These students have a look in their eye and tone in their voice... they are ready to change the world. And I know they will.