Brower Youth Awards

Asa Needle

Worcester, MA

Addressing lead contamination in inner-city neighborhoods

Lead pollution is a serious problem in many parks and public spaces in Worcester’s inner-city neighborhoods. Motivated by this knowledge, in 2009 Needle joined the Toxic Soil Busters, a youth-run cooperative that offers residents soil testing, remediation, and lead-free landscaping services. He was only 13 then, but already well versed in environmental justice issues. Needle now leads the cooperative’s remediation efforts. His team has restored more than 40 lead-contaminated yards in his neighborhood so far. Needle also organizes events and workshops in community spaces where he talks to residents about the hazards associated with lead pollution and promotes youth leadership and involvement in the green sector.

Profile Film

Award Acceptance Speech