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State Honoree

Daphne Wu

Middleton, Wisconsin

Daphne Wu, 17, of Middleton, Wisconsin, a junior at Middleton High School, started an environmental club at her school in 2018 to raise awareness of environmental issues and solutions, and to undertake projects to recycle materials that otherwise end up in landfills. When she was a freshman, Daphne began researching environmental issues such as climate change, plastic pollution and animal extinction, and found it all to be heartbreaking. “I felt there was something I could and should do,” she said, “but I knew that it would not be enough for me to stand alone.”

So Daphne founded a school environmental club called the “Green Team.” She asked her environmental science teacher to become a club adviser, and then recruited fellow students through videos that aired during school announcements and through word of mouth. So far, the club has collected hundreds of plastic bags to donate to a local food pantry, coordinated a drive to collect and recycle used-up writing instruments and razors, and visited an elementary school to conduct interactive sustainability activities for 120 young students. On Earth Day, Daphne delivered a 30-minute presentation on climate change to more than a thousand students and staff members at her school. She is also encouraging her school district to rely 100 percent on renewable energy by 2030. The Green Team is now one of her school’s largest student organizations, with more than 50 members.