Hannah Testa, 13, of Cumming, has been named a 2016 honoree of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young people — 15 winners and 10 honorees — who have made a significant positive difference.
Hannah has created a number of initiatives to inspire others to join her in protecting animals and the environment. As a 10-year-old, she raised several thousand dollars in a single evening for the nonprofit Save the Horses by organizing a movie night attended by more than 300 people.
She has developed a presentation about plastic pollution and has shared it with approximately 1,000 children and adults, including Gov. Nathan Deal, who invited her to his office when he heard of her work.
Hannah has also influenced a number of local restaurants in switching to an “upon request” policy regarding plastic drinking straws. She has created numerous videos and public service announcements, including two about the problem of plastic pollution, which she saw firsthand during her beach cleanups in Bermuda, Miami and Jamaica.
She has also made videos about the need to protect some of her favorite animals, including orcas and rhinos, and has presented at rallies and protests to save orcas. Additionally, she has sold homemade cookies to raise $1,500 for elephant conservation.
“Through education and information, we can change the world for the better,” Hannah said.