Eco-Hero Finalist: Meet Domenica Arias

For 13-year-old Domenica Arias, recycling waste isn’t a chore, it’s a passion.

HIALEAH, Fla. – The Local 10 Eco-Hero contest is underway and we have five outstanding finalists we want you to meet.

All this week, we will introduce you to these planet-protecting middle schoolers and then you’ll have a chance to help us pick our Eco-Hero.

They will travel with us into wild Florida to make a prime time special, and our first stop is Hialeah.

For 13-year-old Domenica Arias, recycling waste isn’t a chore, it’s a passion.

“Without that waste, we get a cleaner environment -- a healthier environment,” she said.

Domenica is so driven to see that healthier environment, that when her school, Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy, partnered with Green Lady Waste Management, Domenica stepped up to be the school’s recycling ambassador.

“Recycling ambassador basically means spreading the information around the school about recycling and how to recycle properly,” she explained. “If you put a single bad thing in the bin, you contaminate the whole bin and you can’t recycle the whole thing.”

Domenica’s meticulous attention to detail as the recycling ambassador is also evident in the orchid lab, where she and her classmates are working to germinate and grow rare and native orchids.

“We need the orchids and flowers,” she said. “They help pollinate the environment. Pollen keeps plant life around.”

As a leader in her school’s Green Club, Domenica helps care for the school’s lush and beautiful arboretum. The native plants there are home to colorful birds and roaming foxes.

Her appreciation for native plants and animals is one reason Domenica would love to experience wild Florida and see the special and unique animals that call it home.

“They are endangered, obviously, so keeping that wildlife around is really important for future generations,” she said. “In fifth grade, I actually had an essay about the environment and endangered species. I already had an interest, but this kind of spiked it.”

And that’s why, as an Eco-Hero, Domenica wants to be an environmental inspiration for those around her.

“Teaching others what I’ve learned also spreads to those people teaching other people -- it creates a web around the whole world,” she said.

We will continue to introduce you to four more students this week.

Then, starting Friday night, you can vote for the student you think should be our Eco-Hero on

About the Author:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.