Meet Lydia Faulkner – Norfolk resident, student, green warrior. This young green achiever feels so strongly about littering offenses in her Ghent neighborhood that she started a club, NEWprojects757, to address some of the issues. The youth-run group aims to educate Norfolk communities about local environmental issues and engage residents of all ages in cleanup projects throughout the city. NEW, by the way, stands for Norfolk Environmental Warriors. Her first effort involved a cleanup of the Hague, a tributary of the Elizabeth River that feeds into her Ghent neighborhood.
“Living next to the Hague, and seeing the immense amount of trash piling up in the water, it bothered me to the point that I had to do something to help my community,” she said.
Lydia engaged her friends, selected a date and created a website, NewProjects757.org, to get the word out. A total of 25 teens and adults participated in the event, motivating club members to plan future promotions. This summer, they plan to hit Ghent’s Colley Avenue restaurants with a “Rethink the Straw” campaign, encouraging the eateries to limit the use of the single-use plastic. Her tip for those dining out? Invest in a reusable straw.
“Five million straws are used in the U.S. daily, so if everyone owned at least one reusable straw in Norfolk, that could be a lot of plastic avoided,” said Lydia.
When she’s not advocating for a cleaner neighborhood, this Maury High School junior enjoys playing lacrosse, hanging out with her siblings and goofing off with friends. Thanks for devoting your time to keeping things neat and clean in Norfolk, Lydia! You are an inspiring green achiever. Photo: Lydia Faulkner, second from right, gives thumbs up to last year’s cleanup on the Hague.