Westborough student making strides to protect the environment in her community

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By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

Victoria Helle gives a presentation about her website at the Westborough Library. Photo/submitted
Victoria Helle gives a presentation about her website at the Westborough Library.
Photo/submitted

Westborough – As the president of the Environmental Club at Westborough High School, Victoria Helle has always felt a strong connection to the environment. So, when it came time for her to brainstorm her Gold Award Girl Scout project, she decided to present a nature walk with younger troops to teach them about the environment. When she went to have the idea approved, Girl Scout officials agreed that she could do better.

Victoria knew she had to go bigger and truly make an impact on a larger scale. Her project evolved and became known as, “A Guide to Make My Community More Environmentally Friendly.”

“From the beginning of my project’s creation, the topic and magnitude of my idea totally evolved into something so much greater than I had anticipated,” Victoria said. “My two project advisors, Marge Fisher and Jerry Sjogren were so supportive.”

During her senior year, Victoria implemented an environmental trivia contest that she read during the morning announcements. This was a fun way to start the day and was very well received by the student body. The winners received iTunes cards.

In addition, the club sold aluminum water bottles to help raise funds. A total of $500 was raised through donations and sales.

“I also had the support of the Environmental Club with my idea to earn money to purchase water bottle filler machines for the school to reduce the use of plastic water bottles,” Victoria explained. “In a few weeks, before the start of school, there will actually be two of these machines installed in the school. I think these filtered water machines will be hugely popular and I could not be more proud and excited.”

Victoria is passionate about ways to recycle, protect the environment and more. She is mindful of trash and the effects that certain materials have on the environment. She was excited to sit down with Ben Harvey of E.L. Harvey at a community meeting where attendees discussed new innovations in recycling treatment facilities and ways in which they could help to protect the environment. One thing that was focused on was how trash is actually disposed of.

“I also developed a website [https://environmentwestborough.weebly.com] linked to the Westborough Land Trust that focused on how important it is to remove dog droppings from the ground. This material is extremely harmful to, not only the groundwater, but has a negative impact on humans and the environment,” Victoria said.

Victoria will be starting her freshman year at the University of Rhode Island in a few weeks and expects to join some of the university’s sustainability clubs. She originally thought she would study marine biology but after completing her Gold Award Girl Scout Award, she has decided to change her major to environmental science.

She enjoys helping out with her three younger siblings, all of which are under the age of 6. She is an avid runner and ran cross country, indoor and spring track.

“Four to five years from now I know that I will definitely be making some type of an impact with the environment,” Victoria noted confidently.