Zola at 15: From Super Healer to Eco-Hero

June 12, 2012 — Most teenagers don’t even know what a Marine Protected Area (MPA) even is. Then there’s Zola Berger-Schmitz, who at age 13 earned a prestigious Heal the Bay Super Healer award for her tireless work to help establish MPAs off the California coast.

Now 15, Zola was recently honored for her environmental achievements by Action For Nature, receiving the group’s Young Eco-Hero Award for “speaking out for her generation.”

“Zola was very involved advocating for MPAs here in Southern California,” says Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s Coastal Resources Director. “She even drove up to Monterey to testify at a Fish and Game Commission hearing on her spring break and showed a video about kids supporting MPAs that she produced.”

More recently, Sarah notes, Zola helped gather student support for the L.A. City single-use plastic bag ban. “She’s been a great volunteer, and is extremely driven for such a young age.”

Action For Nature’s 2012 International Young Eco-Hero Award recognizes young people 8 to 16 years old for their accomplishments to “preserve and protect the Earth upon which all life depends.” See the full list of honorees.

You can also support Heal the Bay’s work to protect marine life: Join an MPA Watch training.

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