Izabela Janecek

Ayla Ridwan

The San Juan Preservation Trust is pleased to announce this year’s Climate Leadership Scholarship winners: Congratulations to Izabela Janecek (Friday Harbor High School) and Ayla Ridwan (Orcas Island High School)! A committee of Preservation Trust board members selected “Izzie” and Ayla from a truly impressive group of applicants from across San Juan County.

This year’s recipients will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, awarded in two $2,500 increments for each of their first two years of college. The scholarships are entirely funded by contributions from members of the Preservation Trust’s board of trustees. The intent of the scholarships is to recognize and encourage students in our island communities who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, effort, and imagination in addressing the issue of climate change, and who plan a course of collegiate study that equips them to advance their climate leadership goals.

“Climate change is already altering ecosystems on the lands that the Preservation Trust conserves and stewards,” said Michael Popiwny, chair of the selection committee. “This year’s scholarship recipients, Izzie and Ayla, have truly distinguished themselves as members of the generation that is leading us all toward understanding what is needed to protect and conserve our islands, and the rest of the planet, in a changing climate.”

Here is how this year’s climate scholars plan to make the world a better place, in their own words:

Izabela Janecek

“Right now I’m really interested in going into environmental policy, and that’s not something I would ever consider unless I was concerned about climate change. I am so grateful to receive this award!”

Ayla Ridwan

“I have always wanted to help people, and for the longest time that was through medicine. But recently I’ve been really interested in the intersection between human health and the health of the environment. I could see myself working on climate policy and environmental policy.”

Meet Izzie and Ayla in this brief video interview: