Arya Bairat, 16, of Milford was one of 16 young environmental activists from across the globe honored by Action for Nature as a 2019 Young Eco-Hero, an award that recognizes eco-conscious youth aged 8 to 16 for their creative initiatives aimed at tackling the world’s environmental challenges.

Arya received the third place award in the 13-16 age category for his think tank, BaiSolutions, which empowers widowed wives of farmers and teaches children and small-scale farmers about the importance of environmental conservation and the basic development of a drip irrigation system.

“It is our responsibility to educate others to perform actions that are just and beneficial to the natural world,” Arya said.

While visiting India, Arya connected with small scale farmers and was struck by the high suicide rate among rural farmers — particularly when their crops fail, according to a press release from teh Eco Hero program. “He was particularly concerned with the widows who were left to feed their families.”

Arya developed what he calls an AWD — Alternative Wetting and Drying — water irrigation system which conserves water. Award program representatives said his AWD system is easy to install using inexpensive and readily available materials.

Arya went on to partner with Save Our Farmers to teach younger generations and families about water conservation and preserving their farms.

Besides working with some 25 local farmers, Arya also volunteered with a local school, presenting his ideas to some 1,000 school children through lectures, demonstrations, projected-presentations and pamphlets distributed throughout the community.

Arya is a student at the Engineering and Science University Magnet School in West Haven.

The Young Eco-Hero winners will accept their awards and discuss their projects at the 2019 International Young Eco-Heroes Conference at Google’s San Francisco offices on Sept. 14.

Awarded annually, winners of the International Young Eco-Hero Award are selected by a panel of independent judges, including experts in environmental science, biology, and education.