Maria Blancas
Maria Blancas

The Bullitt Foundation announced School of Environmental and Forest Sciences PhD student Maria Blancas as the winner of the 13th annual Bullitt Environmental Prize, which recognizes young people from varied backgrounds who have overcome adversity and demonstrated the ability to become powerful environmental leaders. The goal of the program is to help broaden and diversify the leadership of the global environmental movement.

Blancas focuses her research on cumulative social and environmental impacts to farmworkers in Skagit and Whatcom Counties.

“Agricultural produce touches everyone through the food we eat, yet too often we forget the people working to bring it to our tables,” said Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation. “Maria’s work gives voice to people who are frequently hidden from view, highlighting impacts to their health and bringing their needs out of the shadows,” he added.

The Bullitt Environmental Prize comes with $100,000 awarded over two years. Blancas plans to use these resources to complete her PhD, creating a digital platform for storytelling about farmworker experiences in the region.

Previous winners included SEFS PhD student Carol Bogezi, whose research was focused on reducing conflict between people and wildlife in the fast-growing Puget Sound region.