Aaron Perry, Natasha Smith and Shabazz High School Earn “Badger Bioneers” Honors

Aaron Perry, Natasha Smith and Shabazz High School Earn “Badger Bioneers” Honors


Rebalanced-life Wellness Foundation founder Aaron Perry, REAP Foods Farm-to-School Director Natasha Smith and Shabazz City High School’s Project Green Teen have been named 2017 Badger Bioneers by Sustain Dane.

Nominated and selected by members of the greater Madison community, these awardees will be recognized for their pioneering work that fosters what Sustain Dane calls “Big ‘S’ Sustainability,” inclusive of a strong community, just economy, and healthy planet.

“Badger Bioneers are individuals or teams who are moving the Greater Madison Region toward a happier, healthier future,” according to a Sustain Dane press release. They are “people who, in their professional or personal lives, are actively making change happen. They don’t need to be famous, or work in a specific field, or have a fancy title. They just need to be people who care, who take action, and who are making a difference.”

Past awardees are listed in the Badger Bioneers Hall of Fame.

Aaron Perry founded the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association after becoming the world’s first insulin-dependent African American diabetic to complete the challenging Ironman Triathlon. Perry made it his mission to ensure that African American men living in under-represented communities, who bear the heaviest burden of disease and poor health status, can live fuller and healthier lives. He also recently opened the Men’s Health and Education Center inside JP Hair Designs on Madison’s west side.

Natasha Smith, Director of REAP’s Farm to School program, has been relentless in pursuing new ways the school district can support local, sustainable farms. Her work helps ensure that local, healthy and flavorful food is in school lunches year-round, decreasing transportation costs and environmental effects of shipping food for Madison schools across the country.

Project Green Teen at Shabazz City High School works to expose young adults to the core values of sustainability through life-changing, hands-on experiences. The service learning class takes students out of their comfort zones and focuses on real world problems and solutions, improving students’ personal and intellectual development.

The Badger Bioneers will attend an evening of intimate dialogue and celebration at the 2017 Badger Bioneers Cocktail Party on Monday, September 25 from 6-8pm at Fresh Madison Market. This event is open to the public and raises funds to support scholarships to the Badger Bioneers Conference for those who would otherwise not be able to attend.

The 2017 Badger Bioneer Awardees will be interviewed on stage about their journey, their work, and their vision for the future at Sustain Dane’s Badger Bioneers Conference on Wednesday, November 29 on the UW-Madison campus. Registration is open now.

Written by Madison365 staff