Chambers a finalist for environmental hero award. 

October 3, 2022

Chambers a finalist for environmental hero award. 

Open voting is taking place until Oct. 10. To vote for Chambers, click here. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Julia Chambers, president of AFFEW (A Few Friends of the Environment of the World), is a finalist for the Cox Conserves Hero Award. Cox Conserves Heroes is part of Cox Enterprises’ national sustainability initiative, designed to recognize youth and adult volunteers, plus nonprofits, making a positive impact on our environment.

According to Cox Enterprises’s website, the Heroes are actively reducing or reusing carbon/energy and water, or are minimizing waste sent to landfills, in line with our company’s own sustainability goals.

Chambers is one of three finalists. Top place will receive $30,000; second, $15,000; and third, $5,000. Chambers said all the funds would go towards AFFEW and its local environmental mission. 

Open voting is taking place until Oct. 10. To vote for Chambers, click here. 

Chambers, a retired art teacher, co-founded AFFEW over 32 years ago and has been its president for the past 28 years. AFFEW is an all volunteer group. 

“I am very passionate about educating others about solutions for a healthier environment,” Chambers aid. “My dream and the group’s goal is to build a nature center in Mason County so many could be educated.” 

AFFEW’s mission statement is: “AFFEW nurtures a healthy planet for all by creating experiences that show people their connection to the environment, engage next generations, educate people on what they can do, and inspire everyone to take action.”

Chambers and her team have organized many balanced forums and programs.  Their yearly Earth Day Celebration hosts many workshops and presentations, kids activities, hikes, and booths. She also participates in many AFFEW projects in the community like beach sweeps and invasive plant pulling, and native plant sale.

Chambers created and taught a successful youth program for two years in the U Dig It Community Garden (merged with AFFEW), located on the grounds of the Methodist Church of Ludington. During the summer program children learned about gardening, organic practices, and also grew and harvested food for the Lakeshore Food Club. The kids planted native plants, went on nature hikes and scavenger hunts and created art from nature. She works with the local schools on programming. The program is coordinated with Michigan State University Extension. 

Chambers worked as a teacher for 26 years at Manistee Area Public Schools. During her tenure there, she always had a student environmental group. She was even nicknamed “Earthmuffin” by a teacher because of her passion for saving the Earth.

Through her environmental passion, Chambers had the opportunity to hang out with Jane Goodall, one of the world’s leading conservationists, at the Roots and Shoots Conference in 2002. Another opportunity was going on an environmental tour to the Amazon River with Lynne Cherry, author and illustrator of “The Great Kapok Tree”, and other environmental kids books.

Open voting is taking place until Oct. 10. To vote for Chambers, click here. 

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