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Release Date: 04/12/2000
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EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner and Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs Mickey Ibarra honored and presented students with the 1999 President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) today at a ceremony being held at the Old Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. The awards have been presented annually since 1971 to honor students in kindergarten through 12th grade who develop projects that help protect local environments and promote local environmental awareness in their communities.

“These students should be commended for their creativity and commitment to improving the environment of their local communities,” Browner said. “Through their projects, they have shown great leadership and dedication to preserving our environment and making it a healthier and cleaner place to live.”

The award recipients are from: Kenai, Alaska; El Verno, Calif.; Longmont, Colo.; Woodbridge, Conn.; Paoli, Ind.; Nicholasville, Ky.; St. Louis, Mo.; Bridgewater, N.J.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Virginia Beach, Va.

The 1999 President’s Environmental Youth Awards winners were selected by EPA’s 10 regional offices. Each year, contestants submit applications along with summaries of their environmental projects to the regional offices. Regional panels judge projects on environmental need, accomplishment of goals, long-term environmental benefits and positive impact on local communities. The panels also consider project design, coordination, implementation, innovation and soundness of approach, and the students’ effectiveness in presenting the projects.

A list of the award winners and their projects is attached.

R-49 # # #
Region 1
“No Butts About It Campaign"
The Steinmetz Family
Woodbridge, Conn.
Sponsor: Sheri Steinmetz

EPA Contact: Angela Bonarrigo
USEPA, Region 1
JFK Federal Building (RPM)
Boston, Mass. 02203
PHONE: 617-918-1034
FAX: 617-918-1029

The "No Butts About It Campaign" was developed in Boca Raton, Fla., by twins Amy and Allie and their brother David Steinmetz to raise awareness and provide a solution to cigarette butt litter. The family sponsored a beach-cleanup yielding close to 500 cigarette butts. The children sent letters and a poster to the Mayor who in turn printed 5,000 posters and had them circulated to beach gatehouses. The Steinmetz family also created portable, disposable, aluminum ashtrays which are now used at every beach throughout Boca Raton. After relocating to Connecticut, they decided to place the ashtrays along a popular walk trail. The Connecticut State Parks Association plans to use the ashtrays on a trial basis and the Steinmetz students are now promoting their products to car manufacturers.

Region 2
"Hillside's Environmental Leaders & Protectors (HELP)"
Hillside School
Bridgewater, N.J.
Sponsor: Katrina Macht

EPA Contact: Cecilia Echols
USEPA, Region 2
290 Broadway - 26th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007
PHONE: 212-637-3678
FAX: 212-637-4445

Hillside's Environmental Leaders and Protectors (HELP) is a club of 60 fifth and sixth graders whose goal was to diminish the effects of habitat loss on wildlife populations within their community. HELP created a wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary on six acres of Hillside School property; established a wildflower and native grass meadow; designed and established a freshwater marsh; and reduced their schools’ lunchroom waste by 20 percent. The students also wrote a musical play, "Migratory Birds,” which was performed for students, community leaders and elected officials.

Region 3
"Student Power Project"
Kemps Landing Magnet School
Virginia Beach, Va.
Sponsor: David Woody

EPA Contact: Betty Ringkamp
USEPA, Region 3
841 Chestnut St., 3C100
Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
PHONE: 215-814-5663
FAX: 215-814-5102

The Student Power Project was developed after students from Kemp Landing Magnet School found that the Elizabeth River was one of the most polluted rivers within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Inflicted with substances such as heptachlor, arsenic and lead, the river's wildlife has suffered and some areas are unsafe for use. Cleanup efforts were underway by a local environmental group, but there was no monitoring program in place. The students decided to implement a water monitoring program which was to be led by them and consist of student volunteers. Students from local elementary schools volunteered and were trained to conduct water tests. The Kemp Landing students also organized the Elizabeth River Festival and created the “Student Power” website.

Region 4
"Black Mountain Project"
Rosenwald-Dunbar Elementary School
Nicholasville, Ky.
Sponsors: Barbara Greenlief
Sandra Adams

EPA Contact: Alice Chastain
USEPA, Region 4
61 Forsyth St., S.W.
Atlanta, Ga. 30303
PHONE: 404-562-8314
FAX: 404-562-8335

A group of fourth grade students worked to preserve and stop the possible mountain top removal of Black Mountain, Kentucky’s highest peak for the purpose of strip mining. The students raised funds for a two-day field study to the Black Mountain area. They interviewed residents, visited strip-mining sites, attended community meetings, and learned about Black Mountain’s unique endangered plant and wildlife. The students also wrote e-mails, proposals and articles; and presented their inquiry findings to other public schools and state universities. As a result of the students efforts, the State reached an agreement with the coal company to never again mine the peak of Black Mountain.

Region 5
"Seasonal Deviations of Lake Patoka Water Quality"
Morgan Danielle Dusch
Paoli, Ind.
Sponsor: William Anderson, Jr.

EPA Contact: Suzanne Saric
USEPA, Region 5
77 West Jackson Boulevard - PI-19J
Chicago, Ill. 60604
PHONE: 312-353-3209
FAX: 312-353-1155

Morgan Danielle Dusch researched Patoka Lake, a man-made lake in southern Indiana by conducting in-depth chemical, bacterial and physical tests. Her research indicated that a variety of activities have altered the water quality. Morgan compared historical data with seasonal data which showed that Patoka Lake would no longer be able to sustain life after 2015. According to her geological and physical data, Lake Patoka has a life sustainability projection of 25 more years, 55 years less than the original projection. Upon request by the United States Army Corp of Engineers, President Clinton has allocated monies to help preserve Patoka Lake.

Region 6
"Two Girls' Individual Environmental Remedy (TIGER Project)"
Kate Widland and Valerie Kaye
Albuquerque, N.M.
Sponsors: Jill VonOsten
Lorie Barzano

EPA Contact: Pat Baker
USEPA, Region 6
1445 Ross Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75202
PHONE: 214-665-7185
FAX: 214-665-2118

The goal of TIGER’s two founders was to invest themselves in worthwhile projects to improve environmental conditions in New Mexico on a long-term basis. They helped establish the Environment Youth Network (EYN) which is a leadership body that coordinates efforts of high school Environmental Clubs throughout New Mexico. The students carried out EYN’s many projects including implementing the Third Annual Youth Conference on the Environment; serving as directors of the Earth Day Coalition of New Mexico; becoming members of the Environmental Business Award Committee, and initiating their school's Environmental Club. Through EYN, TIGER promoted environmental issues on local radio, conducted a youth education campaign, held a fund raising dance, participated in Earth Day events and worked with schools, businesses, organizations, government groups and the media to further their causes.

Region 7
“Cavity Nester's Program”
Earth Angels of Guardian Angel Settlement
St. Louis, Mo.
Sponsor: Fonda Fantroy

EPA Contact: Bill Landis
USEPA, Region 7
726 Minnesota Avenue
Kansas City, Kan. 66101
PHONE: 913-551-7314
FAX: 913-551-7066

The Earth Angels are a St. Louis inner city group of 150 preteens. Fifteen members founded the group 1987 to tackle environmental issues in their communities. The group reclaims and recycles glass, plastic, aluminum, newspapers and batteries to raise money for projects that benefit the environment. In September 1998, the students started a program to help stop the decline of cavity nesting birds. The Earth Angels raised money and built 100 bird houses which were hung in their yards and in LaSalle Park (in the Forest of Life - an ongoing project through which a tree is planted in LaSalle Park every time a child under 16 meets a violent death). The group continues to monitor the bird houses and plans to build another 50 for the neighborhood.

Region 8
Rain forests: Wet and Wild
Hygiene Elementary School
Longmont, Colo.
Sponsors: Billie Pett, Cynthia Wescoat, and Natalie Gelatt

EPA Contact: Fran Wiscamb
USEPA, Region 8
999 18th Street, Suite 500
Denver, Colo. 80202-2466
PHONE: 303-312-6613
FAX: 303-312-6961

The Wet and Wild project focused on tropical rain forests that are home to more than half of the known plants and animals on earth. The students have transformed their school into a tropical rain forest by placing large sprawling trees, hanging vines, dense undergrowth and a wide assort-ment animals, bugs and birds in the front lobby. In addition, the students raised funds to buy and preserve 75 acres of the Brazilian rain forest by creating stationery and calendars and through other various events. The children produced class books based on reports and drawings each student did on plants and animals found in the rain forest. They took field trips to study rain forests in places like the Denver Museum of Natural History and the Butterfly Pavilion. Their displays will appear at the Butterfly Pavilion, the Storybook House of the Boulder Association for Community Living and the Denver Museum.

Region 9
Helping Our Precious Earth (HOPE)"
El Verano School
El Verano, Calif.
Sponsor: David Neubacher

EPA Contact: Matt Gaffney
USEPA, Region 9
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, Calif. 94105
PHONE: 415-744-1166
FAX: 415-744-1072

The goal of HOPE's 25 members is to be environmentally active and to help keep the Earth a healthy place to live. The students brainstormed everything they felt was needed in their school, their community and on the entire earth. HOPE members participated in a number of activities including: building bat boxes; adopting six endangered animals; writing to Congressional members regarding eagles and the environment; collecting more than 1,000 signatures to help the survival of the Mexican Gray wolf; giving speeches; cleaning and maintaining three creeks; cleaning up neighborhood litter; planting more than one million seeds on the Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve; registering all 25 members property as Backyard Wildlife Preserves; assisting in the environmental reintroduction of the California Wood Duck; raising salmon in their class, and participating in "Make a Difference Day" by creating and registering a Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat.

Region 10
"Kenai Peninsula's Amazing Water Maze"
Alden Ford
Kenai, Alaska
Sponsors: Michelle Grzybowski, Merrill Sikorski, and Richard Frederic

EPA Contact: Sally Hanft
USEPA, Region 10
1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, Wash. 98101
PHONE: 206-553-1207
FAX: 206-553-0149

For the annual "Caring for the Kenai" contest, Alden Ford created a computer program to engage fifth and sixth grade students in discovering and exploring basic facts about watersheds, groundwater and the interaction of people and water on the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai Peninsula's Amazing Water Maze is a multiple choice, quiz-like format and includes general water questions, regarding the amount of water on earth, the amount of water in our bodies, the definition and significance of a watershed, and the concepts of ground water and the water table. Various nonprofit and state government agencies have funded the production of a compact disc version of Ford's program.