The Swapshop Ecology Action (SEA) Prize, awarded by the Wellfleet-based nonprofit Cape Cool, goes to graduating Cape Cod seniors who have demonstrated dedication to environmentalism both inside and outside the classroom. This year, $3,500 in award money went to four 2020 graduates of Nauset Regional High School: Montana Bailey, in the photo above, of Orleans, Madeline Kelly of Eastham, Molly Shafnacker of Wellfleet and Eastham, and Toni Young of Eastham.
Bailey, who will study community and international development at the University of Vermont, says, “Exposure to eroding beaches, sustainable food systems at the farmers markets, and an eco-tourist economy inspired me to study developing nations and the implementation of conservation practices.” Kelly, who has researched whales at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown and worked as a naturalist-in-training at the National Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center, will also be attending the University of Vermont, and hopes to explore the legislative and policy-related aspects of coping with environmental issues.
Shafnacker, who has worked with the Green Club and Youth Against Plastic Pollution, is planning on taking an ecology course during her first semester at Bennington College. Her goal is to integrate her creative talents with her interest in biology and passion for the environment. Young, a star intern at Sustainable CAPE, is dedicated to sustainability in her daily life and will study speech and language pathology at Sacred Heart University.
Cape Cool Director Harriet Korim has high hopes for the SEA prize winners. The first-ever award, given 28 years ago, she said, went to Ruthanna Gordon of Eastham, who went on to work as an Environmental Protection Agency research fellow in the Obama administration. —Sabina Lum