Your Community

12-year-old girl's heartfelt letter saves B.C. forest

Categories: Canada, Community

 Olivia Peters wrote a letter to Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts calling for the preservation of a local forest. Her efforts helped save a large patch of trees from being razed due to construction. (Jacob Zinn / Surrey Now Newspaper)

Olivia Peters is being hailed by environmental activists around the web today for saving an entire Surrey, B.C. forest from bulldozers with her words.

The fact that she's in Grade 6 makes her story all the more impressive.

In an open letter to Mayor Dianne Watts published in Surrey's Now newspaper last month, 12-year-old Olivia made a strong case against a construction project that would have eliminated a patch of old-growth forest near her family's home.

"This is not just some email that a kid wants to send to the mayor of her city," she wrote.

"It is an email from a concerned citizen of Surrey who wants the very best for the future of Surrey."

'[T]his forest is in the area where I grew up and am currently growing up ...'

-- Olivia Peters
Olivia said she was motivated to take action after a walk through the forest with her mother, during which she noticed many of the nearly century-old trees in Bose Farm Forest marked with orange spraypaint and metal tags.

Worried that the trees could be pegged for elimination, Olivia investigated further - only to find out that she was completely right. The forest was slated to be razed in order to make way for a new housing development.

"We were highly disappointed because this forest is in the area where I grew up and am currently growing up, and I don't want to think of it as a place for new houses or even a park to be built," wrote Olivia in her letter.

"Some trees in the forest are nearly 100 years old and it's not right to be cutting these trees down. A lot of Surrey has no more forests, and I think we really need to protect areas where there are still some left."

Her concern expanded beyond the human citizens of her town.

"Many animals and plants of all different kinds live there, including eagles, other birds, raccoons, field mice, voles, squirrels, cedar trees, fern bushes, deer and many more," she wrote. "And those animals will be sentenced to death as soon as the machines move in."

After reading her call for preservation, many came forward to express their support - town officials included.

The developer's initial proposal ended up being rejected as a result of her concern according to The Province in B.C.

Under a new plan the construction project was been scaled back drastically, leaving a sizeable chunk -- seven hectares -- of the old-forest in place.

Olivia's mother Lois Peters is as proud of her daughter as the rest of the internet seems to be.

"She's quite passionate about stuff," she told The Province. "Maybe one day she'll change the world. Right now she's just trying to change her little part of it."

Do you know a young person who has taken matters into their own hands to make a big - or even a small - positive change? Enjoy our gallery of outspoken kids and share your stories below.

Tags: POV

Comments are closed.