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EPA HONORS NINE ARIZONA INDIVIDUALS, ORGANIZATIONS
Release Date: 4/22/1999
Contact Information: Leo Kay, U.S. EPA, (415)744-2201
SAN FRANCISCO -- During an Earth Day ceremony in San Francisco today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Felicia Marcus presented plaques to nine individuals and organizations from Arizona in recognition of their efforts to protect and preserve the environment in 1998.
"Today's honorees have applied creativity, teamwork and leadership in addressing many of Arizona's most pressing and complex environmental problems," Marcus said. "Thanks to the efforts of these individuals, our air, water and land will be cleaner and safer for generations to come. The winners -- in fact all of the nominees -- set an example for all of us to follow."
The EPA Region 9 Earth Day Celebration acknowledges demonstrated commitment and significant contributions to the environment in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and tribal lands. Thirty six groups and individuals were selected from more than 100 nominees received this year from businesses, media, local and state government officials, tribes, environmental organizations, and citizen activists.
The Arizona winners and basis for recognition are:
Mark Salem, Owner of Salem Boys Auto (Tempe) Salem has created programs for recycling the byproducts of car repair -- including coolant, paper, aluminum, steel, waste oil -- and for proper handling of oil filters, old batteries and tires. His company conducts monthly tours for other shop owners on its recycling program. Salem also helped set up the Arizona Strategic Alliance, which provides leadership, raises public awareness and implements projects to preserve Arizona's environment through compliance awareness, pollution prevention and environmental education and mentoring.
Patricia Mariella, Gila River Indian Community (Gila River) Under Mariella's direction, the Tribe's Department of Environmental Quality has grown from a program with only a handful of people to a full multimedia department with a staff of 20. The Gila River Indian Community is the first tribe in the nation to develop a "Tribal Implementation Plan," and one of the first to develop an Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know program, and also acquire "Treatment as a State" status under the Clean Air Act. The Tribe's Department of Environmental Quality is currently recognized as one of the nation's leading environmental departments.
Plant Sciences Project (Sierra Vista) Working with the "Plant Sciences Task Force" -- an intergovernmental forum of local, state, and federal organizations -- the Plant Sciences Project has saved 2,500 plants, with a retail value of more than $50,000. Last fall, over 410 native plants were reintroduced along Highway 90 at an estimated cost savings of over $81,000. More than 3 million gallons of water annually have also been saved using the native plant concept. The project has also created interest on the part of local developers who are rethinking standard clearing practices.
The BOLDER Plan of the Arizona Oversight Committee (Phoenix) The Basic On-Line Disaster Emergency Response (BOLDER) Planning Tool makes available chemical and facility data for firefighters to use during hazardous materials incidents, which translates into less environmental damage and improved safety for emergency responders. The Plan condenses 256 pages of complex regulations into 27 pages of easy-to-understand requirements, which allows reporting facilities to prepare the data and report the real-time information to the fire department.
Carol Hopkins (Douglas) Hopkins, through volunteer efforts and as director of the Nimon S. Hopkins Conservation Education Center, brings environmental education to the Douglas area. A retired high school science teacher, she volunteered over 800 hours last year instructing students and educators on subjects such as soil, plant, animals, water, recycling and agriculture. Through these efforts, she reached 1,292 students and trained 205 teachers on environmental curriculum. Hopkins also began education projects on recycling, alternatives to household hazardous waste products, and proper disposal of waste oil.
Karen Sondak, Friends of the Santa Cruz River (Tumacacori) Sondak works to improve our environment and help young people grow into thoughtful and effective citizens. A high school plant science and agricultural vocational teacher, her accomplishments
include: training her students in river water quality monitoring; connecting with a Sonora, Mexico high school to develop a water quality testing initiative; guiding students in designing and planting the new high school grounds with low-water use plants; bringing students to help clean up the Gila River; and developing a new environmental curriculum.
The Diablo Trust (Flagstaff) The Diablo Trust was initiated in 1993 by two Northern Arizona ranching families, in response to increased pressures from regulatory agencies, environmental concerns and wildlife issues. The group sets goals for keeping the almost half-million acres of mixed land ownership of private, federal and state-owned ranches biologically, economically and socially sustainable. Its diverse members include ranchers, government land management agencies, environmentalists, college faculty, community leaders and others.
Valley Forward Association (Phoenix) Now celebrating its 30th year of operation, Valley Forward is a non-profit organization of business and civic leaders dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life in metropolitan Phoenix. EarthFest and the Environmental Excellence Awards program are the organization's signature events. The Association has led or participated in numerous other important activities, including a Great Salt River Cleanup Day that involved more than 21,000 volunteers in clearing 344 tons of garbage from the riverbed.
Luther Propst, Executive Director of The Sonoran Institute (Tucson) The Sonoran Institute promotes community stewardship, an approach to conservation based on inclusive strategies for enhancing conservation opportunities and local quality of life. By working with public land managers, landowners, local officials and environmental advocates, the Institute helps preserve the ecological integrity of protected lands and economic well-being of adjoining communities. The Institute is working with community members, public and private agencies and indigenous peoples to secure the long term protection of the Sonoran Desert region.