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EPA Region 2 Administrator Honors Environmental Achievers in the Virgin Islands

Release Date: 04/22/2004
Contact Information:
(#04058) New York, New York In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator, Jane M. Kenny, will honor two people and organizations that achieved success in improving the environment in New York. Regional Administrator Kenny will present EPA's Environmental Quality Awards and a President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) at a ceremony in EPA's offices in Manhattan tomorrow. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the renowned Director of the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

"The superior winners we are honoring today are truly environmental trail blazers," said Regional Administrator Kenny. "By taking a leadership role and making local changes, the award recipients demonstrate that we can all have a positive impact on the environment."

EPA selected Environmental Quality Award winners come from non-profit, environmental and community groups, individual citizens, environmental education and business organizations and members of the news media. The honor is given to those individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to improving the environment in EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The Agency receives nominations for the awards from both inside and outside.

The PEYA program promotes the study of environmental science and the development of leadership skills in young people. Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade who actively participate in noteworthy environmental projects are eligible to receive PEYA certificates of commendation signed by the President of the United States. One winner from each of EPA's ten regions is selected to participate in an expense-paid trip to the national award ceremony in Washington, D.C.



Environmental Rangers

The Environmental Rangers program is a science study program that educates youth in the Virgin Islands about the importance of preserving and protecting their fragile ecosystem. It emphasizes the idea that "as we learn we teach." It provides field activities, such as educational tours of the Mangrove Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Bovoni Landfill, exploration of the Mandahl Bay Salt Pond, and a walk along Paradise Point Tramway Nature Trail. These activities demonstrate the importance of preserving natural habitats and resources and highlight Virgin Islands natural history. The program, sponsored by Camp Umoja, is committed to inspiring youths to enjoy environmental recreation and education.


Ms. Ann Marie Gibbs

Ann Marie Gibbs, a science and math teacher at the St. Croix Central High School, has involved youth in the Virgin Islands in hands-on experiences that protect and preserve natural habitats. Her students participate in the St. Croix Environmental Association's Mangrove Restoration Project, and programs through the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Services and the Virgin Islands Energy Office. Ms. Gibbs has taught and supported environmental organizations in the St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John school districts for twenty-three years. Ms. Gibbs is a co-recipient of a 2002 bio-energy grant for generating a bio-fuel from waste cooking oil and creating a bio-fuel instructional vehicle.