Names: Anna and Andrei Radulescu
Grades: 10 and 11 (respectively)
Hometown: Glastonbury, CT
Transformational Experience: Galápagos: Preserving Nature’s Wonders™ 2019
Making An Impact: Revived their school’s Environmental Club
Passion: Recycling, outdoors, wildlife
Andrei and Anna Radulescu, siblings from Glastonbury, Connecticut, returned from their summer in the Galápagos islands with a strong sense of purpose. After spending two weeks in the remote islands off the coast of mainland Ecuador working on projects like invasive species removal and creating sustainable habitat for the unique and threatened creatures that inhabit the islands.
“I always knew I had a passion for environmental conservation, but my GLA trip inspired me to take more initiative and gave me more motivation to act. I fell in love with the islands and I couldn’t imagine not doing everything in my power to preserve its beauty….My GLA trip to the Galapagos intensified my love of the environment, and sparked my motivation to fight for what I love,” Anna says.
As for Andrei, his experience in the Galapagos ignited a new sense of urgency. “As soon as my trip ended I knew that I would look forward to helping lead the green clubs at school. Prior to going on my trip the environment was not an aspect of life I had given much thought to. After seeing the rural and few communities of people that live on the exotic islands, I realized my position as a next generation kid who would one day contribute to society in some small way. I became determined to value the health of my planet as it would be something I would pass down to my children and those after them,” he says.
While Anna had previously been involved in her school’s Environmental Club, the group was small and not particularly active; with only four members, initiatives were slow in coming together. In the fall, Andrei also joined and the two led the group’s efforts to expand and make real change. “At the start of this school year, we worked harder to make our club known. We made a poster and set up at booth about Environmental Club at freshman orientation. We also decided we would not only plan events that entail service work, but also fun trips in nature, such as hiking, so that members could enjoy the environment we are working to protect,” Anna says.
As it grew, the club has become more structured, complete with elected positions. Anna was elected Vice President and takes her role seriously. Their main objective for the coming year: Reinstate the school’s recycling program, which in recent years has been ineffective due to a lack of education about what types of materials are actually recyclable. Currently, all of the school’s waste ends up in the landfill. They are aiming to launch a recycling education campaign that will hopefully allow their school to resume its participation in recycling programs.
Other projects in the works include a fundraiser for Earth Alliance, a non-profit that works to address urgent threats to the planet’s life support systems; they are partnering with their school’s Art Club to create stickers to sell.
What does the future hold for the Radulescus? They are both looking at pursing careers in the medical field. Andrei has been completing work with antimicrobial peptides at the University of Connecticut; while he’s not 100% sure what his future holds, he says that being active in solving community issues is key for him regardless of where his path takes him. This summer, both siblings will be participating on the Fiji: Marine Conservation Expedition™ program, where they will continue to work with threatened island ecosystems and communities affected by climate change.