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Vegetarian Society Announces Winner of Student Competition

The NZ Vegetarian Society has announced the winner of its annual Think Kind Student Competition. The winner is Year 9 student, Sophie Weenink Smith, from Nelson College for Girls. Weenink Smith organised a beach clean-up involving 200 people. Together, they removed 200kg of rubbish from Tahunanui Beach in Nelson.

Weenink Smith says she organised the beach clean-up to help marine life.

'It really bothers me that marine life is hurt by thoughtless decisions made by humans. […] It was so successful that now I have a big database of people to help me with more clean-ups.’

One of the main sources of ocean pollution worldwide is fishing gear. A recent study suggested that 46% of debris in the Pacific Ocean is fishing equipment.

As a result of the beach clean-up, Ministry of Inspiration asked Weenink Smith to be a Youth Leader. She also received a letter from the Prime Minister, ‘which was very exciting’.

Nelson Council and Keep NZ Beautiful also provided support, and the Nelson Fire Service helped with the clean-up - as well as the vegan BBQ they had afterwards.

Weenink Smith is vegan for the animals. She says:

‘I held a vegan BBQ afterwards for the helpers. It was important to me that it was vegan so no animals would be hurt for the sake of a BBQ. I loved the positive feedback about the food and had lots of people asking where to buy this vegan food, too.’

Weenink Smith has won $1,000 for her school, donated by Linda McCartney’s. Other prizes donated to the competition entrants and finalists were donated by Hell, Proper Crisps, Goodness Me, and New Way.

The annual Think Kind Student Competition encourages students from around the country to use their unique talents to help the animals. This year, the NZ Vegetarian Society received more than 200 entries from around 30 schools. Among the final entries were a website, a letter to the prime minister that received a reply, and even a Scratch coding project! More than 10,000 people voted in the competition.

Viktória Lencsés Spear, one of the Think Kind judges, says:

'We were so impressed with the entries we received this year, and with the number of schools that participated. It was tough choosing the finalists.'

You can view the finalists’ entries, including Weenink Smith’s winning entry, on the NZ Vegetarian Societ’s website: http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/vegetarian-events/think-kind-2019/2019-think-kind-competition-winners/

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