In celebration of our 68th Birthday, Save the Dunes is awarding two exceptional individuals The Dorothy Buell Youth Environmental Award (YEA) in recognition of their outstanding commitment to protecting our region’s natural resources.
The award is named for our founder and first president, Dorothy Buell. Buell is remembered as a tenacious, dignified, yet reserved activist whose tireless efforts overcame significant challenges in achieving the goal of preserving our Indiana Dunes. This year, we are excited to recognize two passionate and dedicated individuals – Ethyl Reuhman and Danielle Sipp.
We wish to offer a hearty congratulations to both of these strong women, and will be broadcasting and interview with them live on Facebook at a date to be determined. Please be sure to follow us on our social media for more information. These are two incredible individuals that you will want to meet!
Ethyl Ruehman is an Environmental Policies major at Indiana University Northwest. She was selected as the Campus Compact's Newman Civic Fellow for 2020-21, and recognized by the Environmental Resiliency Institute for their "2020 Resilency Heroes". She is a co-founder and coordinator for the Northwest Indiana Youth Climate Council and a Climate Reality Leader. She is among the earliest people in the state to be certified carbon neutral by Carbon Neutral Indiana and is also affiliated with NWI Just Transition and NWI Region Resilience.
As an advocate for many environmental and climate-related issues, Ethyl has organized demonstrations to raise awareness; using these issues as a platform to uplift and rally around youth, who have been impacted by these issues. She spends all her free time educating herself and others on these issues. She also tries to lead by example by leading a zero waste lifestyle, staying engaged in her community and in volunteering in nature spaces. Ethyl believes global resiliency begins with our own communities. Her motto "Think Global, Act Local ".
Danielle Sipp, a 16-year-old Gary resident, is a student, a local volunteer, and an aspiring young author. She has always had a heart for people and her community. Her passion has been intensified after a sequence of events that occurred in her life that changed her perspective from passive participant to actively living life on purpose. She watched her hard-working grandparents be diagnosed with cancer 3 months apart. She then experienced the loss of one of her grandparents due to the rapid advancement of that cancer. She also bore witness to the intense social climate of her own community with racial and socio-economic injustices. The last catalyst into activism was after an eye-opening trip with her school to New Orleans, Louisiana where they studied the environmental effects of climate change. That trip changed her view of life and fueled her to become an advocate in and for her community.
With the news of some recent developments surrounding an entity that could serve as an environmental threat to her school and the City of Gary as a whole, Danielle could no longer be silent. Danielle, along with many unwavering youth and a supportive administration, have determined to utilize their voice not just for academics, but for their city, and ultimately their future.
Danielle along with a spirited group of young people from Northwest Indiana have created an alliance that focuses on enacting environmental change in the Midwest. She has learned throughout the years that activism can take many forms from being on the front lines and protesting, to writing opinion pieces, to advocating and working to create legislative changes in our local, state, and federal governments.