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EPA honors young environmentalists

Release Date: 04/29/2008
Contact Information: Phillippa Cannon, 312 353-6218,

No. 08-OPA079

(Chicago, Ill. - April 29, 2008) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur today congratulated the regional winners of the 2007 President's Environmental Youth Awards at an event in Chicago. Each year, the awards honor students in kindergarten through 12th grade who develop innovative environmental projects. This year's regional winners all hail from Illinois.

"Every student who entered a project in this competition is a winner," said EPA Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "They put a lot of effort into doing something positive to help the environment."

"The judges had a tough assignment this year. The entries all showed creativity and a desire to make a difference."

The regional first-place award winner is 9-year-old Kate Schneider of Arlington Heights, Ill. Kate noticed her school -- James Whitcomb Riley Elementary School --did not have enough recycling bins. In order to buy more, she organized an International Fair as a fundraiser, recruited 21 school friends to help and publicized the fair by herself. The event raised more than $500 to buy new bins for the school.

The second-place winners are Betsy Williams, 18, of Glen Ellyn, Ill., and Caitlin Hinchey, 17, of Wheaton, Ill., for their project with other Girl Scouts to clean up Churchill Park in Glen Ellyn. Once the park was cleaned up, the girls and other Girl Scouts put on a community Environmental Fair.

Because of their efforts, teachers at nearby Churchill School can take their classes to the park, and people in the community can use the paths for hiking and biking.

The third-place winner is Robert Richmond III, 15, of Lockport, Ill. Robert is very interested in fish and their habitat. He set up a program to collect and recycle used monofilament fishing line from those fishing in southwestern Cook County's Tampier Lake. The successful project kept discarded fishing line from injuring wildlife and harming the environment. He not only convinced anglers to recycle their used line, he also convinced other Boy Scouts in Cook County to participate in conservation efforts in the county's Forest Preserves.

The President's Environmental Youth Awards have been presented annually since 1971 to young people in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

Photos from Tuesday's event will be available at:

More information about the President's Environmental Youth Award is at

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