Trevor Burke, a 7th grade student from St. Mark’s School of Texas and member of Boy Scout Troop 518, has been awarded a Disney Friends for Change Youth Grant through YSA (Youth Service America). The grant will support Burke in leading a community service project for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD).

Service activities will take place on Global Youth Service Day, April 11-13—the largest volunteering and service event in the world.  Burke’s service project seeks to preserve the nearly extinct Blackland Prairie eco-region, which is considered to be one of the most threatened eco-regions in the world.  Currently, less than 1% of the original vegetation remains, and only in scattered parcels around the North Texas area.

Specifically, Burke and a team of volunteers will be clearing out a pecan grove to facilitate new growth at the edge of the Blackland Prairie meadow at the Connemara Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) land trust bordering the cities of Plano and Allen, Texas.   

The Project take place on Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m. at the Connemara Conservancy, 300 Tatum Road in Allen. Volunteers of all ages, particularly children and teens, are invited to participate. Later in the summer, Burke will be releasing Northern Bobwhite Quail into various Blackland Prairies around North Texas in an attempt to populate the Blackland Prairies with native Texas birds. 

Grants were awarded to children and teens to lead projects that make a positive, lasting change in the world. Bob Mione, the Connemara Meadow Manager, concluded, "We could not be more pleased to have Trevor leading a big part of our effort to restore the Connemara Meadow to a native Blackland Prairie habitat. He continues to demonstrate all the qualities we look for in volunteers: dedication, energy, focus and the ability to get things done. The work Trevor and his team are accomplishing at the Meadow will last well into the future and has provided the cornerstone for our overall restoration efforts. I know that Connemara's founder, Frances Montgomery Williams, is smiling from Heaven when she looks down and views all of the work Trevor and the young people have done in her beloved Meadow."

Burke joins millions of other young people around the world to celebrate Global Youth Service Day, April 11 to 13, 2014. Now in its 26th year, Global Youth Service Day recognizes the positive impact that young people have on their communities 365 days a year. As the largest service event in the world, Global Youth Service Day is celebrated in more than 135 countries and all 50 states.

“Trevor is a true Friend for Change,” said Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of YSA (Youth Service America). “He is leading an amazing project to make a difference in the environment and, by doing so, is demonstrating to youths everywhere that kids can positively impact their community! We are so proud of his great work and how it will help improve the North Texas landscape.”