While some local students spent the summer enjoying their free time before school starts up again this month, one Burbank High School senior spent her time off thousands of miles away, learning about the environment.
Sidney Garrison was one of 300 students nationwide who attended this year’s Washington Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University in June, where speakers talked about the importance of conservation and environmental science.
“We learned how to start conserving and ... how to speak up to change how things are, in order to keep the planet healthy,” Sidney said.
What struck her most during her weeklong trip to Fairfax, Va. was learning about the negative effects of microplastics in the environment, especially the ocean, and how plastics break up into smaller pieces and find their way back into the food system.
Sidney added that she did not realize how much single-use plastics were used whenever she ordered fast food.
“We intake about a credit-card-size of plastic every day,” Sidney said.
To cut back on her single-use plastic usage and be a better conservationist, Sidney said she’s been more thoughtful about using reusable bottles for water and not using straws in her drinks.
Sidney’s aspiration after high school is to become a veterinarian, and she said the summit helped her learn more about the importance of the career choice and how it ties in with the environment.
Joining Sidney on her trip was her father, Garvin. He said he was proud of his daughter’s willingness to further her education and amazed with her drive to pursue her dreams.
“She’s not going to quit or stop until it’s done,” Garvin Garrison said.