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Meet the 2019 N&W Suburbs Eco-Ambassadors!

Please join us in welcoming the N&W Suburbs Eco-Ambassadors for this summer! Their first week was last week and this week they're camping for three days in Palatine. Look out for another reflection from them soon!


Participants in our Eco-Ambassadors program spend the summer developing awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of the world around us. The program is taking place in Chicago as well.


Lead by Dan Huntsha, the cohort will explore all four of our program areas: Energy & Climate, Sustainable Food & Land Use, Water Preservation, and Advocacy.


Through field trips and activities, the Eco-Ambassadors learn about career opportunities and how to be leaders in raising environmental awareness at their houses of worship and in their communities.


Returning youth who show great leadership potential have the opportunity to take on extra responsibilities as Earth Allies. We have three Earth Allies this summer, each of whom will write a blog to reflect on their experiences. Stay tuned!



2019 NWS Eco-Ambassadors pictured L to R: Katie, Mia, Jake, Dan, Nina
2019 NWS Eco-Ambassadors pictured Left to Right: Katie, Mia, Jake, Dan, Nina


Katie Ellingsen


House of Worship: Wheaton Willow Creek Community Church Favorite Summer Activity: Swimming Favorite Vegetable: Bell Pepper Favorite Fruit: Peaches What inspires you? When people work hard towards a common goal Favorite Way to Spend Weekend: Watching a good movie What inspires you to be environmentally sustainable?

I want to have a future for me and future generations, to look forward to and I want to be a part of the movement towards that goal. What are you looking forward to about being an Eco-Ambassador?

I want to learn how I can bring the information I learn as an Eco-Ambassador into the environmental club that I co-run at my school with another one of the eco-ambassadors.


Mia Grant-Funck


House of Worship: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn Favorite Summer Activity: Swimming Favorite Vegetable: Broccoli Favorite Fruit: Guava What inspires you?

I am inspired by others taking action to raise awareness about climate change and the impact it has on everyone. Favorite Way to Spend Weekend: Spending time with friends What inspires you to be environmentally sustainable?

The need to help the Earth in any way possible. What are you looking forward to about being an Eco-Ambassador?

I am looking forward to learning new information about climate.


Jake Van Santen


House of Worship: Grace Lutheran Church & School, River Forest Favorite Summer Activity: Kayaking Favorite Fruit and Vegetable: Carrot, Watermelon What inspires you? Family, teachers, and nature Favorite Way to Spend Weekend: Sleeping, spending time with family and friends What Inspires you to be environmentally sustainable?

My appreciation of wildlife and plants, and my desire to help solve the problems we’ve created What are you looking forward to about being an Eco-Ambassador?

I am looking forward to learning about solutions to environmental issues and the opportunity for a hands on experience in helping solve environmental issues.


Nina Dziedzic


House of Worship: I go to Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist, or CCUU in Palatine. Favorite Summer Activity:

During the summer, I like to take walks in the warm evening and play my guitar in my free time. Favorite Fruit and Vegetable:

My favorite vegetables are probably peas, and my favorite fruits are peaches. What inspires you?

I am always inspired by people who are genuine. Even if they are famous celebrities, they stay true to who they are and refuse to be a fake. Favorite Way to Spend Weekend:

I usually spend my weekends with my family. One weekend I'll be watching movies and going on walks with my mom, and the other I'll visit my dad's house and have a nice time. What Inspires you to be environmentally sustainable?

I am inspired to be environmentally conscious by thoughts of the future. I don't want my kids to grow up in a bleak world without many of the privileges I had while growing up. What are you looking forward to about being an Eco-Ambassador?

Being an Eco-Ambassador is a wonderful learning experience, wake-up call, and a place to meet great people. I've learned so much from the program, and I've noticed that all of the young people who are part of the program have a good moral compass and are very kind. It's been really great.

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