Miriam, 18, completed her final year at Hurunui College in rural North Canterbury as Head Girl and Dux of the School in 2017. In her spare time, she enjoys mountain running, tramping, mountaineering, fishing, learning about humanitarian rights, justice and looking after the place we call home. For as long as she can remember, Miriam has always been inspired by the rich abundance of biodiversity that flourishes in the worlds natural environments and it is this connection to nature at a young age that has empowered her to understand and create awareness around the importance of kaitiakitanga of the natural environment for the future generations to enjoy.
Miriam strongly believes that integrating a connection with nature at a young age is vital for environmental education and therefore awareness and action from youth in the years to come. Coming from a small rural community in Hurunui, Miriam is an active head student leader of the Nina Valley Restoration Group, a youth conservation group with an aim to reintroduce a sustainable kiwi population back into the wild in the Nina Valley. This has meant working closely with DOC to track, monitor and catch kiwis ready for translocation. In 2016 she was also given the opportunity to take part in the first-ever Department of Conservation youth platform at Mt Cook which encouraged intergenerational decision making, resulting in a youth submission into the Aoraki Conservation Management Plan. After attending YELF in 2016, Miriam went back her community so inspired to create positive conservation change that she founded Projekt Pukeko in her local swamp which uses DOC200 trapping systems to control predator numbers. In her final year at school, she was head student leader in the Litterless Organisation which oversaw devising strategies to address litter issues in the community and creating awareness of the contribution to a more significant global issue. Miriam was a student voyager for the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands in March 2018. Miriam is a recipient of a John Waller Memorial Scholarship and will be studying Management, Business and Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Canterbury in 2019."