Alaska Youth for Environmental Action Member
Oceana Wills is currently a senior at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. For the past two years, she has been the president of Homer Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, a group connected to AYEA, the statewide organization whose goal is to inspire and educate across the state in matters of environmental protection. AYEA is a program of the National Wildlife Federation Alaska office.
Homer AYEA became involved with Homer's political scene when a member of the community aproached them with an energy chapter for the City Comprehensive Plan. Homer's plan did not have such a chapter that could potentially bring more sustainable planning to the city and so HAYEA presented it to the city council in winter 2009, along with a mission statement that encouraged renewable energy to be implemented in the town.
The chapter was adopted into the plan, which was great, but there were goals imbedded in the plan that did not agree with the environmental aspects. This year, HAYEA members testified at many city council meetings to change the wording of the goal. Wills wrote a letter to the mayor to further the cause, encouraged her fellow schoolmates to speak before the council, and, with the help of key members of the group, gathered a youth contingency to support their goal.
The effects of HAYEA's efforts may not have completely changed the comprehensive plan, but the spirit of youth activism was rewarded with support from the community.
Wills enjoys being a part of this group. It has taught her valuable leadership and speaking skills as well as knowledge of environmental issues. She plans to go to school and possibly study environmental studies as well as art, writing, languages, and a myriad of other things.