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Bay Area elementary school gets EPA award for environmental innovation

Release Date: 5/10/2004
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415/947-4227 (desk), 415/760-9161 (cell),, Principal Cori McKenzie, Central Elementary School, 650/637-4820

Belmont School is one of ten winners nationwide to receive prestigious award

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented one of ten national President's Environmental Youth awards to the Central Elementary School in Belmont, CA for its extensive recycling and environmental education campaign that led to the first playground made completely from recycled materials.

"This is an opportunity to celebrate the collective efforts of our parents, staff and students," said Cori McKenzie, the principal of Central Elementary School. "Through this effort, our students have gained a true appreciation for the importance of our precious land, water and air resources. The wise use of our earth is a good value for children to learn."

"These students are to be applauded for their commitment to making the environment in their communities better," said EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, who, along with President Bush, acknowledged the students. "Due to their creative work, the environment and communities across the country will benefit for years to come."

Last year, the school started a program called "Getting Green and Central," which was an outgrowth of the school's lunchtime recycling program. The students collected more than one ton of aluminum cans, which helped fund the building of the new playground.

Last month, the school was honored along with the other nine award winners from across the country at a White House ceremony. Each student or school receiving an award developed an innovative project that promotes awareness and encourages people of all ages to protect their environment to community involvement.

The PEYA awards have been presented annually since 1971 to honor K-12 schools, as well as individual students in kindergarten through 12th grade who develop projects that help protect local environments and promote local and environmental awareness in their communities.

More information on the PEYA program, as well as a listing of the 2003 award winners and their project descriptions, is available at: