Karin Traeger

Karin Traeger

Chief Executive Officer

AKA: The Plastic Runner

Likes: Vegan icecream, long runs in the trails, fluffy wombats, people who like plogging, sustainable activewear.

Dislikes: People who throw cigarette butts on the ground, unnecessary packaging, marine litter, people who says running is awful (but sometimes it is!).

Favourite Animal in the Yarra Catchment: Blue Tongued Lizard


Behind every environmental organisation, requires a formidable eco-hero at the helm and the YRKA is very fortunate to have ‘The Plastic Runner’ leading the charge.

Originally from Chile, Karin is a passionate environmental activist and CEO for Yarra Riverkeeper Association (YRKA). From working with sloths as a wildlife veterinarian to surveying coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef, Karin has extensive experience supporting community initiatives for environmental protection.

Her love for nature and trail running took her into a journey of activating her community towards litter prevention and action, founding “The Plastic Runner”. Through the facilitation of over 30 community events, Karin showed how plogging (running and picking up litter) could impact her local trails. To this day, the project has collected more than 1,300 kgs of litter from parks and trails.

Recognised as a local ecohero, Karin works towards a Yarra River and tributaries that are healthy, protected and loved for the many generations to come. Her work at YRKA has led the team to deliver regeneration projects, volunteer programs, educational toolkits, and innovative campaigns that advocate for healthy waterways.

Karin’s relationship with the Yarra comes from the many years running along its banks, experiencing the challenges and problems the river suffers and enjoying the value from its natural beauty.

She believes that creating community awareness about issues related to pollution can generate a better understanding and consciousness of how, with little changes, we can have a big effect!

In her spare time, you can find her mapping out her next trail adventures, camping, and bikepacking in nature.

“Everyone can make changes happen. Even if it’s picking up a single plastic bottle, you will be helping wildlife and ecosystems that would be suffering if it was still there. Go for a run, and get plogging!”