Accomplished Oak Bay teen a United Way Youth Now winner

Ruby Tang recognized for her environmental achievements

Oak Bay High student Ruby Tang earned the United Way’s Youth Now Green Award for her environmental work at the school.

Oak Bay High student Ruby Tang earned the United Way’s Youth Now Green Award for her environmental work at the school.

When Ruby Tang heads out on a five-day trek on the Juan de Fuca trail she’ll revel in the environmental wonder.

The resplendent nature we enjoy on Vancouver Island is something she is already certain we take for granted.

“When I hike that trail I’m going to think about how the natural environment has affected who I am today,” she said of the hike next month after graduation.

Her need to protect it, and the actions she takes toward the goal, earned her a place in the spotlight at the United Way Greater Victoria’s 18th annual Youth Now Awards.

Nominated in another category, she was named Green Award winner.

Dr. Tzu-I Chung, a human history curator at the Royal BC Museum, nominated Tang for her work there, which ranges from transcribing historical documents to running a kids’ summer camp to delving into old documents and city directories to compile timelines. Judy Fainstein, of Youth Environmental Stewardship BC, supported the nomination.

Tang was recognized for her leadership qualities and organizational abilities with YES BC and her volunteer work with Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. She was instrumental in building volunteer capacity for the 2015 Off The Grid Music Festival, hosted by Oak Bay High School. She was also part of a provincial initiative last spring where students asked local MLAs to commit to do what they can to stop attempts to increase thermal coal exports through BC ports. An easy sell locally, she was among those offering a thumbs-up after a successful meeting with  Weaver, who signed a commitment to stop any new thermal coal export.

More than 1,000 incredible young people between the ages of 11 and 29 have been recognized for their outstanding contributions as volunteers and community leaders since the Youth Now Awards began in 1999. Hosted by the United Way and the Inter-municipal Youth Programmers’ Committee, Tang was simply happy to be nominated at the award event.

“I didn’t think I was getting an award,” she said. “So many people are doing extraordinary things in the community. I’m really thankful for the recognition.”

Tang also enjoyed a few moments of conversation with fellow award-winners, nominees and nominators after the United Way Awards event.

“It was really neat learning about what motivated them to be involved in what they were involved in,” she said. “What’s driven me to get involved with environmental issues and sustainable practices is I’ve had the opportunity to travel to other countries.”

Tang has visited family in China, and once visited Taiwan. Both offered her an opportunity to see decaying environment. It “saddens and frustrates” her to see other people suffer because of a lax attitude toward environmental protection.

She takes action here at home, as co-leader this year of the Environment Club at the high school that started a new compost system.

Volunteers empty compost bins scattered around the school a couple times a week.

“It’s a smaller system but  … we hope to expand it,” said Tang.

The environment club also organized a well-attended showing of Take a Stand: Youth for Conservation Project, a documentary featuring a Q&A with project leaders from Simon Fraser University and Norm Hann.

Dozens of classes made their way through the auditorium for that presentation.

Also an Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star Award recipient in 2014, Tang was among the students tasked with the Bowker Creek design charette, where they had input on the now-complete restoration of the waterway adjacent to the school. Then she was part of the club that reintroduced the rubber ducky race on Bowker last month, using it as an opportunity to showcase the rejuvenated creek.

Tang heads for the University of Toronto this fall where she hopes to study international relations, and peace conflict and justice studies.

“I’ll be really reminded of how important it is for us to protect the environment,” she said, noting she’ll live on the downtown campus. “It’ll be a big change, I’ll miss the trees. I’m more aware now and fully appreciative of how nice it is here.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lisa Love, left, and Dana Livingstone of the Wildlife Advocates Collective want to establish wildlife corridors along Sooke Road. The group wants to start with the new highway reconstruction project between Connie Road and Glinz Lake Road in Sooke. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
How creating wildlife crossings can help deer, bears – and even amphibians

Dana Livingstone knows the dangers wild animals can pose to drivers on… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on Greater Victoria nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of local hospital nurses

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Flowers poke through the snow in Courtenay as the area got a taste of winter weather this week. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Vancouver Island not out of the winter woods quite yet: meteorologist

“It’s winter; we’ve got to get through it together.”

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read