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EPA Awards New England Youth and Environment Programs $20,000 in 2006

Release Date: 08/25/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – August 25, 2006) – EPA’s New England Regional Office is pleased to announce that it will award grants to three organizations in New England that have coordinated on-going summer youth environmental employment programs, continuing the Agency’s 17-year dedication to introducing economically disadvantaged high school students and youth to career opportunities in the environmental field.

The $20,000 funding, being made available through EPA New England’s Regional Geographic Initiatives, will be made available to three groups working in the region:

      - A grant of $6,000 has been awarded to the New Haven Ecology Project, Inc. (NHEP), which oversees an on-site summer youth employment program at its Common Ground High School site in New Haven, Conn.
      - A grant of $6,000 has been awarded to the Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE) to oversee a program at the Saco, Maine Department of Public Works.
      - A grant of $8,000 will be awarded to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) to oversee a program at the Lowell, Mass. Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Established in 1990, EPA’s Youth and Environment Program promotes environmental education and provides economically disadvantaged high school students with increased awareness to protect the environment and water quality within their own communities.

“It is vital to the future of environmental stewardship that these principles are instilled in today’s youth,” says U.S. EPA New England Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney, “By giving students the opportunity to learn about environmental careers, we are able to pass on the importance in making a connection between their life goals and protecting the environment.”

In New Haven, Conn., the Youth and the Environment Program is integrated as part of an on-going year round youth employment program implemented by NHEP at their Common Ground High School site. The emphasis is to introduce economically disadvantaged urban high school students to environmental careers, specifically in the areas of water and wastewater. The Common Ground High School site has a working organic farm that Youth and the Environment students are responsible in maintaining. They also staff weekly farmer’s market, help with grounds maintenance, as well as performing a wide range of community service, such as helping to restore abandon lots.
One of the many projects for the twelve participating students this summer involved constructing an elaborate trellis and arbor made from wood they had recycled from on-site. EPA New England has provided funding to NHEP for the past three years.

The Saco, Maine project this summer allows two students to gain experience shadowing personnel at the Dept. of Public Works. Students have worked at the local wastewater treatment facility, recycling and transfer stations, and have assisted in the mapping the locations of stormwater detention ponds. This is the fourth year that this program has been funded through EPA’s Youth and the Environment Program. It is coordinated through PETE, an organization with a great deal of experience in implementing summer environmental youth employment programs.

Grant funds at the Lowell, Mass. Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility will be used this summer to help five local area high school students become exposed to the many facets involved with the proper operation of a wastewater treatment plant. These students also participate in field trips related to science, water quality, and college career counseling. The program at the Lowell Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility was one of the first funded Youth and the Environment Programs in 1990 and remains the longest continuous running program in the nation. This “anchor” program has been effectively managed by NEIWPCC for the past 17 years, and has been put into action through the patience and tremendous effort provided by the staff at the Lowell Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.

More information: Grant opportunities from EPA (

Editor's Note: A high resolution photo of students working under this grant is available (

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