Wren Kilian, Valley of The Flowers Project

With few opportunities for youth to get involved in their community, inadequate recycling systems, and little respect given to the planet, Wren Kilian, mother of three, and grandmother of one, decided to “follow her heart” and work for change in her community. She created The Valley of the Flowers Project, to help communities become sustainable, healthy, creative, vibrant places to live by educating and empowering individuals and fostering a deep connection to the natural world. Two aspects of this work are currently self-funded and underway: “BYO Bag for Change,” to reduce/eliminate single-use bag use, and “Bring in the Bins!” to improve recycling.

Wren feels that it is important to teach others about reducing single-use products and packaging, and challenges other communities to find ways to do the same. She educates local store owners on the benefits of installing commercial recycling bins, teaches consumers the importance of using reusable bags when shopping, and her goal is to bring recycling and composting to all public parks and other community venues. Wren markets her work in local stores, creating private funding for, and approaching businesses with a plan to install stylish, commercial recycling bins next to every trash can.

Wren’s ultimate goal is for every store and patron in the community to participate leading their state from almost last in the nation in recycling to zero-waste, and creating a voluntary, positive-reinforcement based model for reducing/eliminating single-use bags.  BYO Bag for Change has already raised hundreds of dollars for local groups doing sustainability work like building community gardens, and youth nature classes, just through the donation of $.05 and $.10 bag refunds in a dozen participating stores

Her city’s local patriotism slogan “because Montanans care” is meant to encourage other states to step up and say they care too.

For more information, follow Valley of The Flowers on Twitter and visit their website and Facebook page.