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High School Students In Manahawkin Win Award For Helpting To Save Endangered Lily

Release Date: 04/21/1999
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(#99063) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Sixteen high school students were honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today for their work to save an endangered lily and a rare fern that grow in the Pinelands in New Jersey. The students received a President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) from Jeanne M. Fox, EPA's Regional Administrator, in a ceremony held in New York City. The students improved the habitat for the lily and fern, which are threatened by shade from encroaching trees and shrubs, and shared the knowledge that they gained with a group of fifth graders. The President's Environmental Youth Award program is designed to foster a sense of leadership in young people and encourage them to address environmental problems in their communities.

"The best way for young people to learn about the environment is to experience it firsthand. This project provided a hands-on learning experience, not only for the high school students, but also for the fifth graders whom they taught," said Ms. Fox. "The project has given this endangered lily and rare fern a fighting chance while enriching the education of these students."

After mapping the area and obtaining the necessary permits, the students went to work. They removed shrubs and small trees to allow more sunlight to reach the sun-starved lilies. They laid out circular plots for the Curly Grass Fern and used three different approaches within each circle to improve the habitat. In one area of the circle, they removed all vegetation except the fern. In another, they removed only shrubs. A third area was left untouched. The students also conducted water sampling at ten sites. The samples were analyzed for dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, temperature, turbidity and oil. The high school students then accompanied fifth graders to the area and taught them to identify wetland vegetation, characterize animal habitat type and describe landforms and land use. Finally, the high school students produced a video describing the project, which was broadcast on the school television station, SNN News.

The sixteen award recipients are Janyce Burns, Steven Clanton, Bruce Day, Dana DeRose, Christopher Essig, Michael Gathright, Autumn Herrick, Meredith King, Eileen Lloyd, Anthony Muzyka, Kate O'Brien, Elizabeth Repac, Philip Roon, Lori Schneider, Shannon Shattuck and Charles Wheeler. They were sponsored by Lynne Shoemaker.

For more information on Southern Regional's project, contact Mr. Karlheinz Haas, Director of Math/Science/Technology Education, 609-597-9481, ext 263. For more information on how to apply for the PEYA program, visit EPA's Website at or call EPA Region 2's Communications Division at 212-637-3678. For educational environmental information geared toward young children, visit EPA's Kids Web at For educational environmental material designed for older children and high school students, visit

For more information contact:
Mary Helen Cervantes-Gross, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3673 FAX: 212-637-4445 E-Mail: