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5 BC Students Making a Difference - Herbaland Community Scholarship

This year we awarded the Herbaland Community Scholarship to 5 outstanding students from all across British Columbia. The Herbaland Community Scholarship is awarded to 5 students in the BC school districts who demonstrate excellence in academic performance, leadership, and community involvement. The recipient of this award shares Herbaland’s core values of sustainability, inclusivity and community. Each recipient receives a certificate of excellence and $1000. We want to support the next generation of leaders through their journey, helping them accomplish great things. Learn more about each of our 2022 winners below:


Rachel Dong

Long time chair member of the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference and named as one of the Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25, Rachel Dong is a champion for the planet. Growing up on the West Coast, Rachel has developed a deep admiration and respect for the environment. One of many of the sustainable initiatives Rachel has been a part of is an end-of-day food program. Rachel coordinated the diversion of more than $35,000 worth of unsellable food from going to waste, supporting marginalized communities in the Downtown Eastside! When faced with gender bias in her STEM class, Rachel felt compelled to start a non-profit, The Eureka Foundation, in order to promote diversity and bridge the opportunity gap in STEM. As a result,  their programs have helped many underrepresented and under-resourced children, in developing skills in science, self-confidence and relationship building! 

Rachel's dream is to be a physician where she can be a champion for sustainability and equality! 


Lilah Williiamson

From a young age, Lilah Williamson has always been a climate activist, attending her first climate strike when she was just 14 years old! From there Lilah co-organized the largest protest in Vancouver's history, with over 150,000 attendees. It was a climate strike, part of a global movement of students walking out of their classes to demand climate action from their governments. Lilah also co-founded the youth climate organization Sustainabiliteens, which organizes monthly strikes, lobbies elected officials, spreads climate awareness and recruits young people to the fight against climate change. The organization grew from just a few high school students to hundreds of members across four chapters. Lilah was also nominated by her school to join the British Columbia Youth Parliament, a provincial model parliament and service organization. She’s now serving as Minister of Service and have spearheaded projects like a Blood Drive, Seniors Pen Pal Project and Day Camp for kids with financial, neurological and physical challenges

Lilah’s goal is to run for political office in Canada before she turns 30, because she wants to represent young people in government and implement the ambitious policies needed to mitigate the climate crisis before it's too late!


Callum Neily

From starting school clubs, to leading projects to help the environment and his local community, it’s no wonder that Callum Neily is his school's valedictorian! During the pandemic Callum realized its academic and financial impacts and sought to alleviate some of this burden by creating a non-profit organization, “Tutoring with Callum,” to benefit youth disadvantaged by the pandemic. Cullum's passion for sustainability lead him to the Engineering Team, where he built a mechanical and electrical plastic shredder, molding the melted plastic into usable products. He is now connecting with companies like Plastic Oceans Canada to shift how the world treats climate change. 

In the future, Callum hopes to pursue his passion in science and become a professor in order to help solve current climate and social issues! 


Thea Wells

Thea Wells’ core values are respect, integrity, responsibility and leadership, translating for a respect for oneself, others and the environment. We can see this reflected in all the work Thea has done for their school, community and environment. For six years, Thea has made their school, district, community, and province more inclusive and sustainable. They were part of the Fraser Basin Provincial Youth Council that met for 200 hours, creating a greenhouse on a non-profit, urban farm to increase peoples’ access to food while reducing food waste. Thea is also a member of their school and district Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and is identifying ways to make their school and district more inclusive for LGBTQ2S+ students. 

Thea will continue their studies at the University of Ottawa, where they plan to study Geology with a focus on Indigenous reconciliation. 


Rina Hatakeyama

Rina Hatakeyama is a student passionate about sustainability, fashion, mental health awareness and social equality! She loves to intertwine these passions and look at the intersectionality's of these topics. Rina promotes inclusivity and community-centered initiatives through Diversify Our Narrative (DON), which she is the founder and co-district lead. DON is a grass-roots organization that demands her school district to include at least one text written by a BI/POC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) author about the BI/POC experience in every high school English classroom. Rina also has a seat on the council for Environmental Leadership at her school, and leads a group focusing on sustainable consumerism, leading initiatives on recycling, school-wide clothing drive, and a hygiene drive. 

Rina hopes to pursue a career in fashion, tackling the difficult climate related issues surrounding the clothing industry. 



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