Updated: May 7
Amelia wants youth in the community to know that sustainability is in every corner of their life and that small actions can add up and make a greater change.
Amelia Kovacs is a fun-loving, enthusiastic, and caring difference maker in Eagle County. With a degree in Conservation Biology and Ecology, as well as a minor in Sustainability and a certificate in Sustainable Food Systems from Arizona State University (ASU), Amelia knew she wanted to positively impact the world through sustainability moving forward. Amelia had worked in the fast food industry in her youth and recognized the inefficiencies and lack of waste diversion as an issue. That was when she decided that she wanted to positively impact our planet by getting into work that focused on sustainability. In college, Amelia worked diligently to create the first residential compost program in her dorm and at the university, drafted a climate action plan alongside a city councilwoman, and represented ASU at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain. After graduating, Amelia joined Walking Mountains in Avon, CO in the summer of 2021 as a Sustainability Intern.
Following her internship, Amelia landed a full-time position as the Sustainability Programs Coordinator, where she focuses on waste diversion. She currently leads the Materials Management Task Force at Walking Mountains, managing the county’s diversion report, supervising the Sustainability Internship program, and overseeing 115+ days of zero waste events per year. In 2022, Amelia and the collective zero waste team helped divert 51,540 pounds from the landfill through recycling and composting with an average diversion rate of 81%. You have probably impacted this diversion rate when you have attended local events all across the Valley that have the green pop-up Walking Mountains tents and staff helping direct you on which bin your trash should go in. Thank you for your efforts!
Amelia is passionate about making sustainability fun and accessible to all. She believes in meeting people where they are and introducing sustainable changes in a way that is engaging and enjoyable. This approach also applies to Amelia’s work with youth, which she loves. She facilitates recycling tours for 2nd graders through high schoolers, leads in-school assemblies across the district to talk about recycling, and coordinates Zero Waste programs where many of the staff that work events are youth and young adults. Amelia also leads the Sustainability Internship in summers where most interns are young adults in or right out of college and this program helps them get their foot in the door in sustainability.
Amelia wants youth in the community to know that sustainability is in every corner of their life and that small actions can add up and make a greater change. She believes in asking questions and using one’s voice to bring sustainability to the spotlight to make a bigger difference. Amelia says, “We’re listening.”
In addition to her work with Walking Mountains, Amelia became involved with Mountain Youth this year, by helping coordinate the new Green Yeti program. This program was requested by John A. Dobson Ice Arena who wanted to be part of the zero-waste initiative. This new program provides youth, mostly our local high schoolers, with the opportunity to learn and grow and use their knowledge of sustainability to help divert waste made by our very own Vail Yeti hockey spectators. Amelia spoke to Valley’s Voice members to address how to obtain more youth involvement and trained members who were interested in joining the program.
While sustainability is always on her mind, Amelia has other areas in her life that she likes to put time and focus into. She volunteers twice a month with a local organization, SOS Outreach, and provides outdoor activity learning and quality time with youth as a mentor figure on the mountain. In addition to her skiing and mentorship, you can find her playing soccer in the local recreation team, dabbling in photography and videography, or continuing her journey in cooking.
Amelia’s passion for sustainability, combined with her dedication to youth outreach, makes her a true difference maker in Eagle County. She is committed to making sustainability fun, accessible, and engaging for all, and her impact is sure to be felt for years to come.
If you have questions for Amelia, desire to learn more about sustainability in our Valley, or want to join the Zero Waste team, you can reach Amelia at email@example.com. You can also visit the Walking Mountains webpage at www.walkingmountains.org for more information regarding their initiatives and programs.
If you have questions about recycling, compost, and/or waste diversion in Eagle County, you can access any of the following resources:
Download the Waste Wizard App: Click here for directions
Vail Honeywagon: https://www.vailhoneywagon.com
Written by Grace Meinberg, Mountain Youth Manager of Safe Driving, firstname.lastname@example.org