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June 1, 2002

Girl Power

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Brooke, 15, started Pollution Solution Kids at age 9.

Mission: To galvanize other kids to preserve the environment.

Tired of seeing soda cans and beer bottles strewn along the road of her rural Virginia hometown, 9-year-old Brooke Crowther came home from school one day and designed a flyer. She exhorted kids who were as disgusted as she was by the litter to join Pollution Solution Kids. A few weeks later, six kids -- plus some parents (referred to as "honorary members") -- showed up for the group's first activity: picking up trash and taking it to the recycling center.

"There are beautiful creeks and streams and rivers in our town, but all the trash there just ruins it. I just thought, If we don't do something about it now, imagine what it will look like later."

In 1996, Brooke and her group won a $350 national Do Something Grant and spent it cleaning up her community's creeks and rivers, outfitting the local library with books about saving the environment and animals and publishing a newsletter for kids about how they could contribute. Now the organization is all over the East Coast, and Brooke is fielding calls from kids around the country wanting to start their own chapters. And last year, Virginia's Secretary of Natural Resources and the Virginia Petroleum Council presented Pollution Solution Kids with the 1999 Virginia Environmental Stewardship Award.

"My favorite part is knowing that we're not just bettering the environment for ourselves," says Brooke, "we're keeping it healthy for future generations, too."

Learn more about other organizations like Pollution Solution Kids at www.earthforce.org. Earth Force, of which Brooke's Pollution Solution Kids is a part, is a national environmental group powered by young people, with satellite clubs in many cities and states.

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