June 22, 2011 —
Rebecca Harvey has always been passionate about environmental issues. For example, when the plucky Honesdale High School senior learned about a man who had converted his car to run on vegetable oil, she was inspired to act.
“I was captivated and realized that I had to make a difference with even my first car,” Harvey explained in her Wayne Conservation District scholarship application.
Harvey saved her money, found an old VW diesel Jetta, researched conversion kits and installed one in it. She then collected used vegetable oil from area restaurants and began reclaiming an alternative source of fuel. Her example inspired her father to do the same and the pair has since begun working on a co-op for local folks interested in using “greasecars” to become more ecologically minded.
Recently, Harvey was selected by the Wayne Conservation District Board as the recipient of its 2011 scholarship which awards $1,000 to a Wayne County student in support of their college education. Harvey will study Human Ecology at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME, a college dedicated to the relationship between humans and the environment.
Harvey is being permitted to defer the start of her first year in order to participate in World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming in France and Europe to see how other cultures are dealing with issues of environmental sustainability.
“I want to experience a wide variety of organic farms, including small family farms, vegetable farms, livestock, cheese factories, wine and olive farms,” said Harvey. “I feel it will be a life-changing experience. It is a hands-on way of deepening my education in my field of interest.”
Harvey has worked as an intern for the regional group Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support (SEEDS) where she worked with the Wayne Businesses Conserve! Program, which helps local businesses operate more sustainably.
She also interned with Journey’s End Farm’s community supported agriculture program in Sterling, PA. “I loved learning about farming and working so closely with the earth,” she said. “I am not sure of my exact career yet, but I am dedicated to environmental issues and helping people to change their consumptive and non-sustainable habits. I am dedicated to keeping Mother Earth healthy and clean.”