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EPA Commends Environmental Achievers in Virgin Islands

Release Date: 05/16/2006
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(ST. CROIX, USVI) In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored five individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts to protect the environment in the Virgin Islands. Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg presented EPA’s Environmental Quality Awards in a ceremony at Frederiksted’s Delta Dorsch Cultural Center.

“These remarkable winners are catalysts for environmental change in local communities,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Their exceptional efforts demonstrate that by reducing waste and preserving our precious natural resources, each of us can make great strides in improving the environment.”

EPA selects Environmental Quality Award winners from non-profit environmental and community groups, individual citizens, educators, business organizations and members of the news media, as well as from federal, state, local or tribal governments and agencies. 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 EPA. For more information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, go to


Environmental Education
Lillian Moolenaar (2006)
USVI Department of Planning & Natural Resources (VIDPNR)
For over eight years, Lillian Moolenaar has been an Educational Outreach Coordinator with VIDPNR. In the course of her work at the Coastal Zone Management program, she has developed community service projects, workshops, conferences, written materials and awards programs aimed at teaching children the importance of protecting marine and coastal environments. In 2005 alone, Lillian was responsible for the planning and coordination of four major environmental conferences, in addition to 22 beach clean-ups involving over 200 volunteers. Her passion for conservation has prompted several local students to pursue environmental careers.

Individual Citizen
Nicolas Drayton (2005)
Nicolas Drayton is Caribbean Ecosystem Manager for the Ocean Conservancy in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is a lifelong advocate for the environment and ocean resources. Nick has been instrumental in planning and developing the Virgin Islands Rapid Ecological Assessment, an extensive study that provides agencies and individuals with data to better understand the extent of ocean and land resources. He completed a spawning aggregation study to provide management recommendations and information for the public. Recently, he initiated the publication, State of the Coral Reefs of the Virgin Islands, to inform the VI government, elected officials and decision-makers about these natural resources and the threats they face.

Douglas White (2006)
Douglas White of St. John, President of Doug White Architects, utilizes his professional expertise and his passion for nature to protect the environment in the Virgin Islands. He is a founding member of the Island Green Building Association, which establishes construction guidelines for homeowners and contractors with the goal of creating sustainable residential communities. Douglas doesn’t just promote environmentally-friendly technologies – he puts them to use in his designs and even in this own home. He is also responsible for the introduction of Electric Low Speed Vehicles onto the roads of the Virgin Islands in 2005.

Non-Profit Organization, Environmental or Community Group
The Biodiesel Project Group (2005)
The Biodiesel Project Group of the St. Croix Vocational Diesel Technology Program was the outgrowth of a lesson plan on diesel fuel systems. Students became interested in alternative fuels and their effect on the environment, operation of the equipment and fuel mileage. Their instructor encouraged a pilot program that included researching less polluting bio-fuels, their production and effects. This project led to a second in which the students created a biodiesel fuel. Their project gained recognition locally and nationally, and the students continued the project with the design and construction of a biodiesel processor that can produce 10 gallons of biodiesel fuel in one cycle. The fuel was tested in several vehicles, and the byproduct was also used to make hand soap.

Mario A. Francis (2006)
Junior Gardening & Ecology Academy
Mario A. Francis of St. Thomas founded the Junior Gardening & Ecology Academy in 1991 to educate local youth about the importance of preserving the natural resources of the Virgin Islands. The Academy, which is held for eight weeks during the summer, focuses on site visits to different islands and hands-on learning projects. Francis has expanded the Academy to include weekends and after-school programs throughout the year due to its enormous popularity. Also founder of the Junior Audubon Club, Francis is an active environmental advocate, recently promoting the adoption of a Tree Conservation Law in the Islands.