2013 Local Hero Award for Youth Engagement
by Bay Nature Staff on December 13, 2012
Each year, the nonprofit Bay Nature Institute, based in Berkeley, selects three individuals who are making outstanding contributions to the understanding, protection, and stewardship of the natural world of the San Francisco Bay Area.
At 23 years, Cindy Moreno has already packed in more experience in the environmental arena than most of us get to in our lifetimes. A recent graduate of the Environmental Studies program at San Jose State, Cindy’s passion is reaching out to diverse communities to educate them about sustainable practices and engage them in conservation. She was recently hired to be an energy outreach specialist for WattzOn, helping Spanish-speaking residents of the South Bay evaluate and reduce their energy consumption using the company’s innovative online tools.
In her “spare time” Cindy works as a guide for the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, leading weekend field trips for children and adults in this restored riparian habitat running through the heart of San Jose. And she works part-time as an Garden Based Educator at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, developing and delivering programs on healthy nutrition and sustainable food systems.
Cindy’s roots in farming go back to her childhood growing up in the small Central Valley agricultural community of Arvin. She moved to the Bay Area to enroll at San Jose State in 2007, where she first got involved in environmental issues. In 2010 she worked as a Camp Mentor for Youth in Science, an innovative science education program for low-income youth that Cindy credits with sparking her interest in environmental issues. In 2011, she served as the coordinator of San Jose State’s Earth Day Festival, and also worked on a program to encourage students and staff to ride bicycles to campus instead of driving.
Also while in school, Cindy worked as a student intern at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, developing outreach and education programs to promote shorebird conservation with the Latino communities of the South Bay. Jennifer Heroux, Chief of Visitor’s Services and Cindy’s supervisor at the refuge, says “Cindy is an exceptional young woman—passionate and completely dedicated to the environment and building community. She has done so much for someone in her early 20s.”
>> Read a profile of Cindy Moreno in the Spartan Daily, San Jose State’s newspaper.
This year’s Local Hero awards will be presented at Bay Nature’s Annual Awards Dinner, on Sunday, March 24, 2013, 6:00 p.m., at the Terrace Room of the Lake Merritt Hotel in Oakland. Tickets for the event are sold out.