LOS ANGELES — It started with his passion for saving frog species, and now, Justin Sather and his whole family are helping to bring awareness to the environment. 

What You Need To Know

  • The 2020 Action for Nature Awards honored 17 international eco-conscious youths for the environmental efforts

  • Frogs are an indicator species and Justin said, "They are telling us the world needs our help"

  • His project, For the Love of Frogs, was his way of raising awareness and money towards environmental causes

  • Dr. Jane Goodall gave him a new goal to bring awareness to ocean plastic pollution

Justin is 9 years old. When he learned frogs are an “indicator species” and their health reflects what is going on in the larger environment, he wanted to help. His project, "For the Love of Frogs," was his way of raising awareness and money towards environmental causes.

This year, his efforts landed him a Young Eco Hero Award from Action for Nature.

“I won third place,” Justin said. “I had to do an awards ceremony and tell all about what I've been doing, like how I've been making the bowls.”

Now, Justin and his family have converted their garage into a workshop where they are making bowls out of reclaimed plastic bottle caps. His mother, Sheri, adheres to a growth mindset model of teaching. She gave Justin a book called, What Do You Do With An Idea? The book is about how to carry through with an idea even when it is unusual.

“People thought [the character’s] idea was funny and weird,” explained Justin. “So, he didn't let that stop him. He kept going.”

His project, For the Love of Frogs came out of the lesson of perseverance in the book. Soon, Justin found himself meeting legendary primatologist and conservationist, Jane Goodall.

As Justin's mom, Sheri explained, “[Goodall] said, 'Justin, I love the frogs, but if there's one thing that you can work on, I want you to work on plastic pollution.'”

Dr. Goodall told Justin about the dire need to curb plastic pollution. 

“If we didn't stop, there was going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Justin.

Now, he has started an operation to distribute his recycled bowls to the community, which his mom said has been a great way for him to learn many skills not normally taught in school.

It is a lot of hard work.

“We needed Tyler to join, and the dad to join and it's something that we all can work on together,” Sheri Sather explained. “So, it's been really fun just seeing how the community has all come together.”

Not one to rest on his laurels, Justin is now fundraising with the Reserva Project, which is trying to purchase and conserve acreage in Ecuador.