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Growing up in Michigan, Lisa Campion was a member of her state’s 4-H Youth Conservation Council, a program that gives teens the chance to explore environmental issues and present their findings to a state senate committee.

Campion’s 4-H membership solidified her desire to pursue a career in environmental law. And now, as a Vermont Law School Schweitzer Fellow whose efforts are being featured on the school’s website, she’s working to inspire area teens to do the same.

As her Schweitzer project, Campion has launched the Vermont 4-H Youth Environmental Council — which is dedicated to promoting youth leadership opportunities for the state’s teens, and supporting those teens in identifying, researching, and presenting their opinions on a Vermont environmental issue to the Vermont State Legislature.

Last week, thanks to Campion’s efforts, three members of the Vermont 4-H Youth Environmental Council did just that, arguing at the Vermont State House in support of H. 97:

The “no-idling” bill, which would prohibit trucks and other large vehicles from idling for more than five minutes at a time, would reduce carbon emissions and end Vermont’s dubious distinction of being the only New England state without such a law in place.

The three girls bolstered their presentation with a six-page report, “Vehicle Idling in Vermont,” which spelled out the impacts of needless idling and examined the difficulty of changing motorists’ behavior.

“Why do people idle?” posed 15-year-old Kathryn Tadio of Rutland County, who then proceeded to explain that most offenders are either in denial or they simply prefer the comfort of keeping the heat blasting on a cold winter day.

But the convenience comes at a price, her colleague, 17-year-old Kayla Ray said, noting that every hour of idling puts nearly 10 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. And Anya Rose, 16, offered various ways to educate the public about the dangers of needless idling.

Two legislators, including the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. David Sharpe, listened intently from the first row, while VLS student Lisa Campion, the girls’ coach and mentor, looked on with obvious pride.

Read Vermont Law School’s full article on Campion’s Schweitzer project here.