What might Program on the Environment student Angela Feng and the internationally known Seattle hip-hop star Macklemore have in common? Besides their love for good music, they both share a commitment to and passion for the environment. They are teaming up with others to raise awareness on the importance of respecting nature, and are working on a campaign for environmental protection in a south Seattle neighborhood.

Angela Feng
Angela Feng
Angela Feng

Feng and Macklemore are both engaged citizens concerned with restoring the highly polluted Duwamish River near South Park. Feng is focusing on environmental education, and Macklemore—who is involved in many aspects of the river’s cleanup—offered one year of financial support for her educational project. Along with the investments of others, his support allows Feng to expand her teaching and continue working with Concord International Elementary School students in South Park. “I chose South Park because it is in Seattle, I previously volunteered there, and it is directly connected to environmental issues,” explains Feng.

Along with three other students from the UW Earth Club, an organization that focuses on raising environmental awareness, Feng launched her education project. They received funding from the Ginger & Barry Ackerley Foundation, a group that makes grants to public and private organizations to enhance the education of young learners in the greater Puget Sound region. Feng and partners went to the South Park Community Center to talk with the kids about the pollution of the Duwamish River, which runs across their neighborhood, and why it is important to keep the river clean.

Feng’s passion for nature is revealed through her teaching. “I enjoy teaching kids about the environment. I love when they suddenly notice the significance of preserving nature,” she says. Through the experience of teaching in South Park, Feng has defined the direction of her future career, which “is to become an environmental educator here in the northwest.”

Environmental education takes a hands on approach under Feng's direction.
Angela Feng
Environmental education takes a hands on approach under Feng’s direction.

Her enthusiasm for the environment dates back to her early childhood. She spent several summers surrounded by mountains at her grandmother’s house in Taiwan, where she is originally from. “I have always had a passion for the environment and I want to help preserve it,” explains Feng.

Feng joined the UW Program on the Environment to receive her bachelor’s degree, and she has been the recipient of several scholarships, including from the Kim and Harold Louie Family Foundation. For the 2014-15 school year, she received the Environmental Leadership Scholarship from the Program on the Environment, which in large part recognizes her commitment to education in South Park.

Feng continues to broaden her horizons and experience as an environmental educator. She has worked with kids at the summer camp at the Washington Park Arboretum, is expanding her teaching through a seminar focused on environmental education, and will return to South Park to teach in the afterschool program. After graduating, Feng hopes to travel and then start a master’s degree in environmental education.

Written by Graciela Matrajt