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EPA Commends Environmental Achievers in Virgin Islands

Release Date: 04/21/2006
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(NEW YORK, NY) In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored three individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts to protect the environment in the Virgin Islands. Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg presented EPAs Environmental Quality Awards at a ceremony in EPAs offices in Manhattan. WNBC-TV’s New Jersey Bureau Reporter, Brian Thompson, who was also commended for his continued dedication to excellence in environmental reporting, delivered the keynote address.

These remarkable winners are catalysts for environmental change in local communities,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. Their exceptional efforts demonstrate that by reducing waste and preserving our precious natural resources, each of us can make great strides in improving the environment.”

EPA selects Environmental Quality Award winners from non-profit, environmental and community groups, individual citizens, educators, business organizations and members of the news media, as well as from federal, state, local or tribal governments and agencies. 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 EPA. For more information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, go to


Individual Citizen
Douglas White
Douglas White of St. John, president of Doug White Architects, utilizes his professional expertise and his passion for nature to protect the environment in the Virgin Islands. He is a founding member of the Island Green Building Association, which establishes construction guidelines for homeowners and contractors with the goal of creating sustainable residential communities. Douglas doesn’t just promote environmentally friendly technologies – he puts them to use in his designs and even in his own home. He is also responsible for the introduction of Electric Low Speed Vehicles onto the roads of the Virgin Islands in 2005.

Non-Profit Organization, Environmental or Community Group
Mario A. Francis
Junior Gardening & Ecology Academy
Mario A. Francis of St. Thomas founded the Junior Gardening & Ecology Academy in 1991 to educate local youth about the importance of preserving the natural resources of the Virgin Islands. The Academy, which is held for eight weeks during the summer, focuses on site visits to different islands and hands-on learning projects. Francis has expanded the Academy to include weekends and after-school programs throughout the year due to its enormous popularity. Also founder of the Junior Audubon Club, Francis is an active environmental advocate, recently promoting the adoption of a Tree Conservation Law in the Islands.

Environmental Education
Lillian Moolenaar
USVI Department of Planning & Natural Resources (VIDPNR)
For over eight years, Lillian Moolenaar has been an Educational Outreach Coordinator with VIDPNR. In the course of her work at the Coastal Zone Management program, she has developed community service projects, workshops, conferences, written materials and awards programs aimed at teaching children the importance of protecting marine and coastal environments. In 2005 alone, Lillian was responsible for the planning and coordination of four major environmental conferences, in addition to 22 beach clean-ups involving over 200 volunteers. Her passion for conservation has prompted several local students to pursue environmental careers.