Leah Davidson, 2016 Finalist

Leah Davidson, 2016 Finalist

AGE: 21
HOMETOWN: Sherbrooke, QC

Leah Davidson had not thought too much about fresh water depletion and sea level rise until she received a scholarship to travel to Antarctica with Students on Ice in 2011. This experience changed her understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Yet with that profound experience also came a deep understanding of the effects of climate change in polar areas. Ever since, Leah has been sharing her experiences from Antarctica, helping others to connect -- despite being long distances away -- with the polar world.

Leah knows that emotional connections to the environment are necessary to encourage people to change their behaviours. Understanding this, she created an anthology called "Antarctica: To Be Inspired," a compilation of poetry, essays, artwork, and photography from the students and staff on her Antarctic expedition. The book is an outreach tool to educate students globally about climate change at the poles. Many schools have since incorporated the book into their curriculums.

Moving forward, Leah continues to advocate cross-disciplinary cooperation in the environmental movement. She understands that multimedia art has a unique power to connect people with vulnerable natural areas, such as the Arctic.  

Leah has not only made her mark as a young and influential environmentalist, but also paved the way other young environmentalists to learn and expand their knowledge. She has inspired young school children around the world who have read her book in their classrooms. For students at her university, they have the opportunity to work with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, a program she helped to establish.

Leah will continue to use her creativity, passion for the environment, and excellent communication skills as she moves forward with educating youth about the environment.


  • Leah compiled “Antarctica: To Be Inspired", used as an educational resource around the world
  • Leah was a Youth Delegate to the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in Japan
  • She serves as co-founder, student fellow, and advisory board member of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH)
  • Leah is a part of The Next 36, Canada's Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative, a tech entrepreneurship program

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