Kallan Benson grew up along Maryland’s Severn River, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and sailing. Her connection to the Bay runs deep and her passion is clear: Create a lasting, positive impact on her local community, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and ultimately, the planet we live on. Whether she’s engaging representatives or captivating the public with painted images on parachutes, she is asking for people to get involved.
Kallan and her fellow student leaders have travelled across the Bay watershed to meet scientists, watermen, and elected officials. Gathering evidence from all perspectives to answer one question: How do we work together to save the Bay? For Kallan, this means we must address climate change.
Kallan created Parachutes for the Planet, a campaign designed to raise awareness about the people, places, plants, and animals that will be negatively impacted by climate change. It has inspired art from 72 countries and 43 U.S. states. Kallan’s work on this campaign and in the Fridays For Future (FFF) movement earned her Amnesty International’s 2019 Ambassador of Conscience Award alongside climate activist Greta Thunberg. Kallan also received (and returned on behalf of FFF) the United Nations Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth Award. She stood before a room full of world leaders and said, “We understand the Champions of the Earth award is a great honor, but we cannot accept it. Instead, we offer to hold it for you to earn.”
Kallan’s spirit and determination gives us hope that the Bay will be cared for and appreciated by future generations. Not only will her efforts help save the Bay, her work will help restore and protect our planet. Kallan and our CBF student leaders view addressing the Climate Crisis as part of their mission to help save the Bay. We are proud to stand with them.