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EPA Region 2 Administrator Honors Environmental Achievers in New York

Release Date: 04/22/2004
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(#04059) New York, New York In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator, Jane M. Kenny, will honor sixteen people and organizations that achieved success in improving the environment in New York. Regional Administrator Kenny will present EPA's Environmental Quality Awards and a President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) at a ceremony in EPA's offices in Manhattan tomorrow. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the renowned Director of the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

"The superior winners we are honoring today are truly environmental trail blazers," said Regional Administrator Kenny. "By taking a leadership role and making local changes, the award recipients demonstrate that we can all have a positive impact on the environment."

EPA selected Environmental Quality Award winners come from non-profit, environmental and community groups, individual citizens, environmental education and business organizations and members of the news media. The honor is given to those individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to improving the environment in EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The Agency receives nominations for the awards from both inside and outside.

The PEYA program promotes the study of environmental science and the development of leadership skills in young people. Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade who actively participate in noteworthy environmental projects are eligible to receive PEYA certificates of commendation signed by the President of the United States. One winner from each of EPA's ten regions is selected to participate in an expense-paid trip to the national award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

President Bush with PEYA awardees  from Dodge Elementary School of East Amherst, New York Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Dodge Elementary School

For three years, the Cub Scouts (Pack 279), Boy Scouts (Troop 279) and Girl Scouts (Dodge Service Unit) from Dodge Elementary School have developed a wetlands habitat enhancement project in their town of East Amherst, New York. Since 2002, they have planted 400 seedlings around a one-acre pond at the Lou Gehrig Baseball Fields and placed bird boxes around the pond to increase the wetlands habitat. In 2003, to mark Arbor Day, they planted over 800 trees along the ponds that adjoin the area's compost facility. On April 25, 2004, the Scouts will plant about 300 trees and place more bat boxes around a 22-acre pond that will be made into the Town of Amherst park. These projects have been made possible by a grant of $500,000 from the Air and Waste Management Association.

Tuscarora Environment News

The Tuscarora Environment News effectively promotes environmental awareness and stewardship within the Tuscarora Nation and renews pride in the Haudenosaunee heritage. This periodical, with its environmental focus, embodies the philosophy that environmental protection begins with education. The Tuscarora Environment News covers issues such as environmental cleanups, the restoration of local trails and efforts to bring birds back to Nation lands.

Croxton Collaborative Architects, P.C.

Croxton Collaborative Architects is a pioneer in the field of "green" building, helping to develop the criteria used worldwide to define "green" practices. Croxton Collaborative used recycled material in the New York Headquarters of the Beldon Fund, an environmental foundation that provides financing for non-profit environmental groups. Croxton Collaborative also used discarded sunflower shells and recycled seat belts to construct a table and chairs in The Beldon Fund conference room. In addition, they made the floor tile out of old windshields. They continue to be a leader in green designs.

The Durst Organization

The Durst Organization blazed the trail to green building when it built the Conde Nast Building, the first environmentally responsible skyscraper in the United States. Douglas Durst, president of the company behind the project, calls it, "a shining example for the real estate community," because it meets very high standards for energy efficiency, indoor air quality and sustainable materials, and has 10-15% lower operational costs than a comparable project. The Durst Organization has also become New York State's largest commercial customer for wind power. The company continues to work toward ensuring a cleaner, greener New York.

Silverstein Development

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Project at Seven World Trade Center proves that diesel emissions reduction is technically and financially practical on even the most challenging of developments. Silverstein Development has signed an agreement with EPA and other partners to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and special pollution control technology to reduce emissions from the heavy construction equipment at the Seven World Trade Center construction site. The project is a model for other businesses and is credited with inspiring a new law in New York City requiring all city construction projects to use cleaner fuel and pollution controls on their equipment.

Maria Karpfinger
Van Cortlandt/Pelham Bay Park Administration
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

As an environmental educator for the Van Cortlandt/Pelham Bay Park Administration, Maria Karpfinger has developed meaningful volunteer opportunities for youth. She is committed to creating hands-on activities and games to raise interest in science, specifically native flora and fauna in New York City. She has worked with numerous elementary, middle and high school students. In this program, children of all ages, their families and volunteers take part in multi-park visits during different seasons to expand their understanding of the natural world.

Hudson River Valley Greenway
Hudson River Ramble

The Greenway Program, sponsored by the Hudson River Estuary Program and the New York/New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program, is an environmental tourism and education program that promotes environmental awareness, protection, education, compatible economic development and resource conservation. The Hudson River Valley Greenway created the Hudson River Valley Ramble to celebrate the environmental and recreational resources of the Hudson River.

The Hugh Carey Battery Park City Authority
The Solaire

The Hugh Carey Battery Park City Authority developed a set of residential environmental guidelines used to build The Solaire, the first "green" residential high-rise in the nation. The lower Manhattan building is a model for all future development in Battery Park City. It uses green features to improve air and water quality and to conserve energy. The building features extra soundproofing and fire barriers, pesticide-free rooftop gardening, a rainwater storage system, in-building wastewater treatment systems and natural gas-fed central heating and cooling systems. Battery Park City Authority continues to set an example by building environmentally-sound apartments in lower Manhattan.

U.S. Federal Transit Administration
Lower Manhattan Recovery Office

The Lower Manhattan Recovery Office of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is keeping environmental protection at the forefront of the planning and implementation of federal transportation projects. The FTA is recognized as an environmental leader for encouraging "green" technologies in its work on reconstruction projects in Lower Manhattan. Working in cooperation with EPA, the agency provided $5 million to help private ferry owners install emissions control equipment on ferries and use cleaner fuel.

Brookhaven National Laboratory
Upton Ecological and Research Reserve

Scientists from the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have done an outstanding job managing the Upton Ecological and Research Reserve. This 530-acre reserve located at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island is a protected habitat that includes one of only four rare pine barren areas located in the Northeast. These scientists developed programs to conserve and restore wildlife and habitat in the reserve. The Upton Reserve also provides grants for research on pine barrens.

New York City Transit
Department of Capital Program Management

The New York City Transit, Department of Capital Program Management is the first transit entity in the world to attain International Standards Organization (ISO) certification and implement an environmental management system. It uses environmentally friendly construction practices under ISO, which is recognized globally as the benchmark for sustainable environmental management practices. New York City Transit has applied these practices in designing the Second Avenue Subway and other planned network expansion projects.

Syracuse City School District

The Syracuse City School District has worked closely with EPA to ensure that its students' health is being protected by instituting EPA's Lead in School Drinking Water Guidance in their 52 schools. The superintendent of schools for the Syracuse school district developed a lead control program even before the results of drinking water sampling were in. He assigned high-level staff to make sure all of the schools meet the goals of the lead guidance.

Centers for Nature Education, Inc. & Billy B. Brennan

Billy B. Brennan and the Centers for Nature Education, Inc. in Syracuse, New York created the "Nature in the City" show to spark an appreciation for the ecology of urban neighborhoods. The performance features pieces about how people interact with the urban environment. It uses song and dance routines to explore the relationship between waterways and cities, ways in which animals have adapted to urban habitats, the consequences of littering, the enjoyment of parks and green spaces and how the urban setting challenges nature.

The Nature Conservancy
The Long Island and South Fork/Shelter Island Chapters

The Long Island and South Fork/Shelter Island Chapters of the Nature Conservancy have spearheaded efforts to preserve plants, animals and natural communities by protecting the lands and waters that are necessary for their existence. One of Long Island's most important waters is the Peconic Estuary, a focus for both Long Island chapters of the Nature Conservancy. Even before New York's Peconic Estuary was declared an "Estuary of National Significance" through the federal National Estuary Program, the Nature Conservancy understood its importance and designated it as one of the "last great places" in the Western Hemisphere. The Long Island chapters have provided immeasurable benefits to the Peconic and the vast array of environmental habitats that make up the island.

Earth Pledge

Earth Pledge is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the identification and promotion of new ways to restore an equilibrium between human and natural systems. Through research, education and exhibition, Earth Pledge has demonstrated to industry, government and communities, viable models for implementing environmental solutions. Its initiatives include: Green Roofs, which works as a solution to environmental and health problems in New York City; Waste = Fuel, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by urban, rural and commercial waste; and Farm to Table, which educates the public about food and agriculture issues and promotes the idea of sustainable practices.

Water Education Collaborative

The Water Education Collaborative (WEC) was formed in 2001 to provide water quality education to members of the public who live and work within the Genesee River Watershed. WEC's goal is to educate citizens about how to protect and improve water quality, and combine the resources of member organizations to do so. The organization enjoys a partnership with the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Some WEC-supported programs include: The Community Water Watch, the Great Lawns/Great Lakes program, the Annual Coastal Cleanup Event, teacher training, storm drain stenciling, the development of a Web site, and the dissemination of water quality and storm water information.