Elizabeth Straszynski, MSc, BEd
Elizabeth shows high school students paths to sustainable futures by providing diverse opportunities for cultivating knowledge on environmental issues, developing applicable skills, raising awareness on the need for action, and expanding career awareness. She leads “Bee the Change”, which originated from a student’s idea for a pollinator garden, and has now grown into a school-wide, DIY gardening program that promotes pollinator friendly planting and provides an education platform on the importance of the pollinator population. Over the past two years Elizabeth has worked tirelessly, propagating the ~1000 plants needed to be able to accommodate the kits distributed to students and alumni around the GTA, resulting in 100m2 of new habitat for pollinating insects. Remarkably, the multiple teams of students she has coached, when competing annually in the Ontario-wide high schools’ annual “Ontario Envirothon”, have placed first in 6 of the past 7 competitions, and then gone on to compete against teams from every jurisdiction in the USA and Canada, never failing to beat all Canadian competitors, and finishing on average in the top 20% overall, including first overall in 2016.