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State Honoree

Whitney Boulton

New York

Whitney Boulton, 17, of Brightwaters, N.Y., a senior at Bay Shore High School in Bay Shore, organized a large group of student volunteers called the “Stream Team” to clean up two large streams in her seashore community. “I was motivated by my father’s stories of these vibrant streams when he was a child,” said Whitney, “but on my inspection I noticed that decades of neglect and debris buildup had rendered these streams useless.” She worried that the condition of the streams – clogged with tires, shopping carts, bottles, cans and other trash – was hurting wildlife in the area and the ecology of Great South Bay off of Long Island. Whitney contacted the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for permission and assistance in cleaning the streams, then convinced 50 of her fellow students to join her “Stream Team.” During two separate cleanup events, the team removed enough trash and debris to fill four large construction dumpsters. “It’s hard to get your friends in mud up to their waists picking up garbage, but we actually had fun,” said Whitney. She hopes to establish the Stream Team as an official school club before she graduates in June.