When Breanna Greaney received an email with the subject line “congratulations”, she assumed it was a scam.
It was not until the Waitaki Girls’ High School year 13 pupil saw it was from the Sir Peter Blake Trust that she realised she had been selected to attend the Youth EnviroLeaders’ Forum in Waikato.
“It’s such an interesting programme, it’s pretty much all I want to do with my life,” Breanna (17) said.
“I want to improve my leadership skills and my confidence working with people I don’t know, which are the main aspects of the forum.
“I am passionate about the environment and want to gain more knowledge that I can bring back to the community.”
Fifty-five secondary school pupils were selected from 350 applicants throughout New Zealand.
The forum will be held in Waikato from April 12 to 18, and will include group activities and speakers from organisations such as the Department of Conservation.
Breanna was one of the founders of the Waitaki Girls’ Enviro Club last year.
The group has been busy organising events such as beach clean-ups, making recyclable beeswax wraps and taking part in the worldwide “junk jam”.
“We are pretty much trying to cover all environmental issues, from pollution to climate change, and arranging activities which increase awareness and involve the whole school,” she said.
Breanna was unsure what she would be doing next year, but said “making a difference in the community and environment” were her ultimate goals.
“I do see myself doing something with the environment, like campaigning and raising awareness,” she said.
“Actually making a difference in the community is my ultimate goal.”
Waitaki Girls’ High School arts co-ordinator Sherylin Hellier said Breanna’s selection was a reward for the effort she had made in increasing the school’s environmental awareness.
“She has big plans for continuing it in the future, so we wish her all the best and we hope we benefit from all of her new knowledge when she returns,” Mrs Hellier said.