Past regional winners of Toyota Earth Day Scholarships achieving their potential to make the world a greener place

TOYOTA CANADA - Since 2003, the Toyota Earth Day Scholarships have been rewarding and encouraging environmental commitment and action, inspiring young Canadian students to choose academic and career paths that will foster environment leaders of tomorrow.

Each year, 20 winners from across the country receive a $5,000 scholarship to help them further their academic careers. These funds are directly applied toward educational expenses for the first year of full-time post-secondary studies in Canada. This year's award winners were announced on Earth Day (Sunday, April 22).

"Year after year, these talented students have used their scholarships as a catalyst for making major contributions, academically and beyond," said Seiji Ichii, President & CEO Toyota Canada Inc. "We are very proud of these outstanding young people and we're honoured that we have been able to play a role in helping them achieve their potential."

Earth Day Canada has delivered the scholarship program for the last 10 years as a part of their year-round reward and recognition programs.

"Over the past decade, we've been able to see the growth and the achievements of the young people who've benefited from the scholarship," said Jed Goldberg, President of Earth Day Canada. "They continue to inspire and effect environmental change and we're pleased to have been part of helping make that happen."  

Here's what six of the recipients have gone on to accomplish in recent years:

Marena Brinkhurst, 2006 Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Winner 

After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in Environmental Economics and Policy, with a particular focus on land resources, Marena enrolled at Simon Fraser University. She is now in her second year in a master's program, studying Resource Management (Planning) at the School of Resource and Environmental Management. While studying land and resource issues in India and volunteering with a First Nation in Ontario, she became interested in the effects of land tenure (how land resources are owned and controlled) on land use and governance in communities across Canada and internationally. Her current research project is on the history and implications of the land tenure system on many First Nations reserves today. 

Baljot Chahal, 2009 Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Winner 

Baljot attends the University of Alberta and is very active in his faculty, Physical Education and Recreation. Since his first year of university, he has worked closely with a professor researching the effects of different intensities of exercise on glucose control in type 2 diabetic populations, while undertaking a systematic review of literature examining the effects of exercise on intra-abdominal fat. He recently won research scholarship to work in a lab examining physical activity and cancer. He has also received a Darwin and Betty Park Sustainability Award from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation for his advocacy and work on behalf of the links between physical activity and environmental sustainability. 

Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand, 2010 Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Winner 

Attending King's College in Halifax, Anika is studying the history of science and technology, as well as environment, sustainability and society. She is co-president of "The Student Horticulturalists," who learn about food issues by growing their own food. She will soon be heading up a campaign focused on bee colony collapse disorder. 

Natasha Caminksy, 2010 Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Winner 

Natasha is in her third year of an Honors Specialization in Genetics and Major in Physiology at the University of Western Ontario. She has received the OUA Academic Achievement Award for her academic standing while being coxswain on the Heavy Women's 8+ varsity rowing team, which won a national championship. Natasha has been volunteering in a cytogenetics laboratory for the past year and is also on the French Club Executive and Rowing Executive. 

Brandon Koebel, 2010 Winner of the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship 

As a second-year undergraduate student at Trent University who is studying Intermediate/Senior Education, Brandon is involved in many community organizations. He is a Student Governor on the Trent Board of Governors, sits on the Trent Central Student Association Board of Directors and is an employee at the Trent Community Sport and Recreation Centre. During the summer, Brandon acts as Supervisor at Kamp Kummoniwannago through Hanover Parks and Recreation. 

Alec Forest, 2011 Winner of the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship 

Alec is currently enrolled in the Animal Biology program at the University of Alberta, while being involved in a number of extracurricular, environmental activities. He is a Campus Sustainability Volunteer, working on projects such as information workshops and a reusable dish program, and he's leading an initiative called "SUSTAINexchange on the Oilsands."  He organizes Oilsands tours, group discussions and presentations from industry and environmental groups. In addition, he is the Academic Communications Director of the Interdepartmental Science Student Society. 

Alec is hoping to tackle a number of future projects, including improving the sustainability of operations in his residence with better cleaning products, kitchen practices and energy-saving and recycling measures. He also plans to start a "Trees 4 Paper" recycling program on campus, with a tree planted for every bin of paper recycled. 

The Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program was established by Earth Day Canada, with financial support from Toyota Canada Inc., to reward and encourage environmental commitment and action among students. This entrance scholarship is presented to graduating high school students entering their first year of post-secondary education. Recognizing that environmental issues are increasingly being tackled through multidisciplinary approaches, winners are selected regardless of their intended program of study.

·        When this year's winners were announced, the total number of Toyota Earth Day Scholarship winners rise to 160, with a total of $800,000 having been awarded through the program.