Environmental Educator

At the science camp Girls Go Green, Julia Goldman (center) works on a science research project.


Julia Goldman is only a junior at Parkway Central High School, but her leadership and passion for a healthy environment has already made a positive impact on her school community.

Funded by the St. Louis Jefferson Solid Waste Management District, six Parkway district schools are now part of a program that has replaced Styrofoam lunch trays with ones made from recyclable materials. Julia works with Parkway district’s environmental and purchasing manager, Erik Lueders, and she is planning a presentation to the district’s Board of Education on the switch.

“I contact other schools for support, contact the board, check all my facts, and put together a PowerPoint,” Julia said. “I plan to present to them in April since that’s the month when Earth Day occurs. It’s really important for me to do this because although adults can tell the board over and over that this stuff is important, they need student perspective to make it real.”

Julia’s sophomore Honors Biology class brought her attention to the increasing importance of environmental issues in today’s world.


“It all comes down to why the current system is flawed,” Julia said. “To me, it’s like, why use such a harmful material when you could use something made of post-consumer or post-industrial products?”

Julia also demonstrated leadership through her work at school. She is president of her school’s environmental club, Operation 350. Beth Karfs, a Parkway science teacher, is one of the club sponsors.

“Julia has been instrumental in the planning of this year’s Earth Day activities, both at our school and on a district level,” Karfs said. “Julia is able to remain enthusiastic for her environmental convictions without coming across as judgmental or militant.  She applies her energy towards things she can control and achieve which keeps her positive.”

Through her position in Operation 350, and her work with the school district, Julia’s interest in the environment has become a passion for change.

“I have to know in the future that my job is making a difference in the world,” Julia said. “Not like a doctor or lawyer who makes a difference in individual lives, which is definitely important, but making a difference to the world as a whole, to future generations.”

Although Julia does not currently attend a temple, her Jewish faith has also impacted her passion for protecting the environment.

“In services, the appreciation for nature was high, and that guided me to my love for the environment,” she said. “Tu B’Shevat is always one of my favorite Holidays and I feel it is underrepresented in some communities.”

Last summer, Julia took part at a Missouri University of Science and Technology camp called Girls Go Green. The program explored the science and engineering behind a green environment.

“We worked with students majoring in Geological Engineering and some of their professors,” Julia said. “It was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had; it really opened up my world.”

Julia has begun to think about her future career choices. “I am heavily considering chemical, biological, and biomedical engineering,” she said. “However, my love for the environment will never fail no matter where I end up.”

Her devotion to environmental causes has earned her great prestige within her community. “Julia shows dedication to all of her activities and school work,” Karf said. “She strives to maintain a balance and high level of commitment to her school work including honors classes, sports including running cross country, and other extra curricular activities including our environmental club.  She is an excellent example of a student who is making the most of her time and always doing her personal best.”

Julia hopes that after her success with environmentalism at Parkway Central, other teens will also become involved, whether through their school’s environmental club, or through doing personal research.

“Think of all the items that you use in a day,” she said. “Do you know where they come from? Do you know what they’re made of? Do you know who made them? If not, do some research. Educate yourself. You can only truly make a difference if you understand what’s going on in the world around you.”