Miss Earth Australia competitor Erica Lapham.
Miss Earth Australia competitor Erica Lapham. www.missearthaustralia.com.au

Beauty in the earth for pageant finalist

WEARING a tiara and evening gown, Erica Lapham may not look like you're typical 'tree-hugger' but the former Coffs Coast girl has donned the garb for a green cause.

The 23-year-old is a grand-finalist in the Miss Earth Australia 2008 beauty pageant, and sees the competition as a great opportunity promote environmental awareness.

“My dad is a horticulturalist and as a result I grew up with a passion about the environment. We really need to start doing something about protecting our forests and natural environment. The pageant is a good way for me to have a voice,” Erica said.

Erica, who now lives in Sydney, entered the competition at the beginning of the year and has been busy campaigning her cause.

Not afraid of getting her hands dirty, she has been planting trees, regenerating bushland and cleaning up the river near the Sydney airport, where she works.

“I like to keep busy - I'm very competitive but it's for a good cause.”

She even had a stint raising funds as a live mannequin in a shop window.

“It was a lot of fun. I think I scared a few people when I would suddenly move my eyes or turn my head.”

With the grand final of Miss Earth just a month away, Erica is taking her message to her home town. She has organised a tree-planting day, to take place in Coffs Harbour tomorrow.

“I was coming home for a few days to catch up with family and I thought it would be a good way to spread the message.”

Erica is inviting members of the public join in the event, to be held at the northern end of the Bray Street Oval tomorrow between 9am and noon.



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