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Salem Middle School Students Receive Award from President Bush for Endangered Species Project

Release Date: 4/21/2005
Contact Information: Sally Hanft
(206) 553-1207

April 21, 2005

Thirty students from Grant Community Middle School in Salem, Oregon earned recognition from President George W. Bush and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to protect the endangered Fender’ blue butterfly. After learning about the unique habitat needs of the butterfly, the class transformed a portion of a local park into a budding example of a Willamette Valley prairie. The project was selected as one of 10 national winners in the EPA-sponsored President’s Environmental Youth Award program. Two of the students and their teacher, Daniel Jamsa, received the award at a White House ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 21st.

Students Ali Foster and Amber Urban (left to right) received the award from President Bush on behalf of the class. Large format picture
The students selected the Fender’s blue butterfly after studying local endangered species in sixth grade. After extensive research on the internet and with local experts, they chose to establish a native prairie habitat with the threatened Kincaid lupine plant, a critical element to the butterfly’s survival. After two years of work, the student plot became an example of the prairie once common in the Willamette Valley. In their 8th grade year, the students brought their knowledge and the plight of the Fender’s blue butterfly to 600 elementary school children at their “Celebrating the Prairie Festival.”

The President’s Environmental Youth Awards program -- celebrating 34 years of recognizing student excellence and achievement -- has two components: the regional certificate program and the national awards competition. Regional certificates from the President of the United States are awarded by each of the ten EPA regions. One outstanding project from each region is presented with a Presidential plaque at an EPA sponsored award ceremony. Youth of any age - from kindergarten through high school - can enter as individuals, or as a group. Young people from around the country are invited annually to participate in the awards program which is aimed at encouraging individuals, school classes, summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness and positive community involvement.

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