2008 Student Leadership Award – Adam Meyer
May 17

2008 Student Leadership Award – Adam Meyer

Adam Meyer is an environmental advocate and outdoor recreationalist.

From the time he conducted his first water-quality test near a construction site to the day he launched an initiative to protect Richland Natural Area, the Raleigh Charter High School senior has immersed himself in environmental activism for the better part of eight years.

“I really got to see how to actually apply science and try to use it for good,” says Meyer, recalling that first water test.

So you’ll have to forgive him for a story about littering in a creek that runs through the very area he promotes.

“Where it first got started, just going to the neighborhood creek, I’d go there with friends back when we were in third grade, back when it was fun to build dams and walk in the creek or explore,” says Meyer, recalling early memories of nearby natural areas . On one occasion, Meyer took off his watch as he was wading in the water–only to lose it to the stream. ” It’s probably still down there,” he says. “Probably one of the only times I ever littered down there.”

Meyer is the 2008 recipient of the SMT Center’s Student Leadership Award for Science, Mathematics and Technology. The award carries a $500 gift and recognizes his leadership and efforts to educate citizens about Richland Natural Area.

Meyer started the Richland Initiative in 2005 with the help of Kevin Brice, director of the Triangle Land Conservancy. Initially, he wanted to create an environmental education center. Brice suggested that he first work on getting his message out, and the Web site saverichland.org was born.

“I think the Internet in this day and age is the best way to reach people,” says Meyer, who used a computer program to produce a map of the natural area for the Web. “I think it also says something about the strength of your effort if you have a legitimate site.”

Meyer enlisted the help of his family and friends to write articles and contribute other information for the site. About 10 people worked throughout a two-year period before saverichland.org was launched in September. Today, it averages about 1,000 hits a month, Meyer says, and there is an upward trend in Web traffic.

A key feature of saverichland.org is its photo show, which showcases the beauty of the area Meyer is fighting to protect.

“I wanted people to try to see as much of the Richland Natural Area as they could,” Meyer says. “If they saw the beauty of it they’d be more likely to take action.”

Meyer says he wants to work with other “stakeholders” in the Triangle to discuss threats to the region. Also on the docket: Cleaning up litter along Edwards Mill Road and meeting with nearby Rex Hospital about the possibility of introducing a wellness park in the area.

He says the award encouraged him to continue activism.

“I definitely feel really honored, of course, having received this award, that this work does really matter to others,” he says. “That makes you feel really good that people want me to continue to doing the work that I am doing.”