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Release Date: 04/15/99
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EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner and Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs Mickey Ibarra honored and presented 50 students with the 1998 President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) today at a White House ceremony. 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.
“Through their outstanding leadership, these young people are ensuring a healthier environment for themselves, their communities and the nation,” said Vice President Gore. “As we move closer to the 21st Century, their commitment to protecting the environment is more important than ever to building a better future for all Americans.”

“These young people are leading the way in the protection of public health and the environment,” Browner said. “Through these projects and their commitment, these students are setting an example for all of us in making our communities cleaner and healthier.”

The 1998 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.

The award recipients are from: Douglas, Ariz.; Denver, Colo.; Springfield, Ill.; Fulton, Kan.; Irvine, Ky.; Covington, La.; Hampden, Mass.; New York, N.Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Ocean Shores, Wash. A list of the award winners and their projects is attached.

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1998 President’s Environmental Youth Awards

Region 1
Kelly Joy, Charlotte Bearse and Felicia Rizzolo
Hampden Girl Scout Troop #657
Hampden, Mass. 01036
Sponsor: Debra P. Joy

EPA Contact: Angela Bonarrigo
USEPA, Region 1
JFK Federal Building (RPM)
Boston, MA 02203
PHONE: 617-565-2501
FAX: 617-565-3415

The Mill Pond Project
Kelly Joy, Charlotte Bearse and Felicia Rizzolo of Girl Scout Troop 657 drafted a proposal to restore Mill Pond which had been a popular site of pastoral recreation for 150 years before a 1955 flood filled it with silt, sewage and debris. The Girl Scout Troop received approval from the town conservation committee and the state government to replant the area with thickets and develop houses for various species of birds and bats. With assistance, the Troop planted a variety of plants and flowers and built the bird houses and park benches. They continue to water the plants and oversee the site to ensure its continuing ecological health.

Region 2
West 181st Street Beautification Project, Inc.
New York, N.Y. 10033
Sponsor: Jeanlee M. Poggi

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

Creating and Maintaining an Urban Nature Trail
A group of community youths called the West 181st Street Beautification Project, developed a task force to restore an empty lot near George Washington Bridge that had become a venue for vandalism, drug sales, theft and violence. The youths turned the lot into a garden spot which is now comprised of a toddler’s playground, shrubs and trees.

Region 3
Cobbs Creek Environmental Service Corps
Philadelphia, Pa. 19142
Sponsor: Carl Mc Call

EPA Contact: Larry Brown
USEPA, Region 3
841 Chestnut Street, 3C100
Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
PHONE: 215-566-5527
FAX: 215-566-5102

Maintaining City Parks
The Cobb’s Creek Youth Service Corps performed a maintenance project at two southwest Philadelphia parks. Students identified animal and plant life at the creek, recorded its daily condition, and analyzed soil nutrition. They also monitored pollution levels and biological oxygen demand with a dissolved-oxygen kit. They pruned trees, planted flowers and made various repairs to benches and pathways. The final step was development of a bi-weekly newsletter to inform residents living near the two southwest Philadelphia parks about emerging environmental challenges and opportunities. The Corps followed up with a series of meetings where residents discussed their expectations and future plans for this ongoing project.

Region 4
Estill County High School Bottle Bill Group
Irvine, Ky. 40336
Sponsor: Lucy Flanary

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

The “Bottled Up” Year
Estill County High School students Kristen Brinegar, Brandon Campbell, Joe Crawford, Jessica Dennis, Amber Reed and Daniel Reynolds decided that they wanted to put a stop to the litter that desecrated the roads and highways of their bluegrass state. They conducted research to determine the scope of the problem, developed a control plan and took it to the state legislature. After extensive grass-roots efforts and a rising tide of state-wide publicity, an amended version of their “bottle bill” was passed in the State Senate, calling for a two year task force to study various control methods. After review by the task force, a draft anti-litter bill will be reintroduced to the State legislature in 2000.

Region 5
The Anonymous Environmental Protectors–Felicia Geist, Lindsay Geist, Sandra Hildebrandt and
Colleen Kelly
Springfield, Ill. 62707
Sponsor: Reinee Hildebrandt

EPA Contact: Julie Moriarty
USEPA, Region 5
77 West Jackson Boulevard - PI-19J
Chicago, Ill. 60604
PHONE: 312-353-5789
FAX: 312-353-1155

The Anonymous Environmental Protectors
A group of four girls, the Anonymous Environmental Protectors (AEP), researched environmental issues on the Internet and at the library, identifying certain local projects that could improve the health of the community. Their projects included picking up litter along a 2.5 mile trail, painting and sculpting a butterfly picture, and removing weeds so native plants can thrive at a wildlife sanctuary. They attended programs at two zoos to get the facts on endangered species in the state. They put up posters at the library and created a float for a 4th of July parade to boost public awareness of ecological issues. In addition, they collected and encouraged residents to recycle cans, and donated the funds they received to charities and foundations. Finally, the AEP raised funds through a Springfield run/walk event to plant trees in Rochester community park.

Region 6
Students for Environmental Awareness Club
Covington, La. 70433
Sponsor: Stephanie Cirillo

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

The Mile Branch Stream Restoration
Covington High School students decided to restore the Mile Branch stream that for years had served as a dumping ground for household appliances and furniture. They conducted an intensive water-quality testing program, began a species inventory, lectured middle-school kids about pollution in local waterways, organized a Mile Branch stream clean-up day and created sculptures from trash as a community teaching tool. They collaborated with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and by working with Mayor Keith J. Villere, the state Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, they turned a trash-filled waterway into a stream with lush vegetation, sparkling water and major recreational potential. Fish and birds are returning, sewage leak-points have been identified and no trash has been dumped in the stream since the project began. In addition, as part of the students efforts, recycling bins have been placed at community curbsides.

Region 7
Hendrix Family Home School
Fulton, Kan.
Sponsor: Susan Hendrix

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

Home Schooling and Environmental Education
Mr. and Mrs. Hendrix and their three children Samantha, Nicole, and Bethany worked closely together to recycle. The family produced and participated in various projects to achieve this goal, including producing a brochure of recycling information for the community, converting a dangerous community vacant lot that was adjacent to their backyard into “Our Backyard” wildlife habitat. They also planted 70 trees as participants in a nationwide program called KiDS FACE ~ One-in-a Million campaign based in Nashville, Tenn. They have recycled aluminum cans and acquired lumber to build bluebird houses within the wildlife habitat. The kids rehabilitated old toys for charity and sent Christmas cards made of recycled materials to nursing home patients. They also created two award-winning web sites on environmental stewardship.

Region 8
Place Middle School “Tiger Team”
Denver, Colo. 80224
Sponsor: Pattyanne Corsentino

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

The “Tiger Team”
Place Middle School had been built on a landfill and its so-called playground was nothing but a vacant lot filled with weeds and debris. The students wanted to make the lot safe and accessible to handicapped kids, with landscaping and amenities. They divided into teams, surveyed the neighborhood and formed a partnership with a landscape architect, the U.S. Forest Service, Denver Digs, the state Division of Wildlife, Denver Parks and Recreation, Denver Urban Resources and local residents. The students turned the lot into a park setting by clearing out trash and debris, and planting flowers and trees. The students used the park as an outdoor classroom which included nature tours. The Tiger Team also renovated a trail to Cherry Creek so it could accommodate wheelchairs. They sponsored an Earth Force Summit at the school for area students to share different environmental projects. Finally, the team conducted a survey to help educate the public about the plants and animals along the Creek’s bike path.

Region 9
Viva La Rana Project
Douglas, Ariz. 85607
Sponsor: Hans Bodenhamer

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

Viva La Rana/Chiricahua Leopard Frog
Science students at Douglas High School decided to reverse the Chiricahua Leopard Frog’s accelerating slide into extinction. With the approval of teacher Hans Bodenhamer and various regulatory agencies, including the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the students obtained frog eggs from a cooperating rancher. When the eggs hatched into tadpoles they kept them fed, cleaned their tanks, and waited for them to transform into frogs. After transformation, they released the frogs into a pond the class excavated on campus. In case of excessive death or sickness in the pond, frogs were also released in other nearby sites. Once the success of the project had been demonstrated, tadpoles were also taken to ponds at four elementary schools in town. Kids trained by the Bodenhamer group are now conducting their own experiments in frog recovery.

Region 10
Laiva Thomasson, Julia Rankis, Kristy Fry, Naomi Rogers, Andrea Jensen and Jennifer Richards
Ocean Shores, Wash. 98569
Sponsors: Ken Loomis
Gene Woodwicker

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

Hyak Cyberlake Trail Project
Hyak Cyberlake is a fresh-water sanctuary for more than one million birds that stop over seasonally on their journey to the Pacific shores of South America. Six girls from the University of Washington Summer Science Camp decided in 1995 to build an educational, research and tourism trail and conduct experiments with students across the world via a web site they developed. The trail was laid out at a low-lying area along the coast and is almost complete. Several scout troops and other students have helped by building bridges, benches and a sheltered bird-blind for travelers. The six girls designed the project, obtained permits, raised funds, organized work parties and set-aside designated research areas. Field notes and graphics were posted on their global website, which was selected by Discovery Channel as an on-line connection for its Animal Planet CD-ROM. To ensure follow-up in the next generation, the girls conducted field trips for elementary school kids and sponsored a Girl Scout symposium on the collected data.