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Release Date: 4/18/2000
Contact Information: David Schmidt, Press Office, 415/744-1578

     SAN FRANCISCO   During an Earth Day ceremony in San Francisco today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Felicia Marcus presented plaques to three Hawaii organizations and individuals in recognition of their efforts to protect and preserve the environment in 1999.

     "Today's honorees have applied creativity, teamwork and leadership in addressing many of Northern California's most pressing and complex environmental problems," Marcus said.  "Thanks to the efforts of these individuals, our air, water and land will be cleaner and safer for generations to come.  The winners -- in fact all of the nominees -- set an example for all of us to follow."

     The EPA Region 9 Earth Day Celebration acknowledges commitment and significant contributions to the environment in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and tribal lands.  Forty six groups and individuals were selected from 164 nominees received this year from businesses, media, local, state and federal government officials, tribes, environmental organizations and citizen activists.

     The Hawaii winners and basis for recognition are:

Kauai Plastics Recycling Project (Princeville, Kauai) The isolated island of Kaua'i faces a unique recycling challenge.  The county has been able to support recycling of cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, newspapers and mixed white paper   but not plastic.  North Shore residents have formed an alliance and in December 1996 began quarterly collections of #2 plastic containers and #2 and #4 plastic bags in their community.  The spirit spread to other parts of the island and now thousands of schoolchildren, parents, teachers and businesses participate in the plastic program.  The plastic has been shipped off island and it is processed into recycled plastic lumber, some of which has come back to the island in the form of plastic benches for parks, schools and the county's Civic Center.

Beverly Kawamura, Salt Lake Elementary School (Honolulu) Kawamura has dedicated countless hours outside the classroom to implement innovative environmental education strategies for the students of her own and other elementary schools, area businesses, and the broader community.  She coordinates a major watershed education event every two years.  This year's event was held along Salt Lake and at the bottom of the watershed at Keehi Lagoon.  Everyone in the community has reaped benefits from Kawamura's work.  Since 1996, odor complaints were reduced by 80 percent; visible trash like styrofoam and cans was reduced by 50 percent; less dirt and gravel were discharged from storm drains into the lake; and local knowledge about nonpoint source pollution and its causes increased by 35 percent.

Hawaii Army National Guard, Ecosystem Management Program (Honolulu) The Hawaii Army National Guard   which conducts year-round training with its 3,000 members on 45,000 acres of sensitive habitat covering five islands   minimizes environmental impacts through a comprehensive mitigation and restoration plan, cooperative efforts and soldier education. The team's water quality manager recently designed two mobile oil/water separators that will filter and recycle water wherever soldiers wash their vehicles before returning to home base.  The team ecologist has developed field gear cleaning and inspection protocols to help  prevent the spread of biological threats to native species. In 1999, the Guard teamed up with numerous partners to restore native plants on Oahu while educating residents on local habitat.