Culture

Published on November 20th, 2009 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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President’s Environmental Youth Awards Recognize Green Student Leaders

[social_buttons]How many of the environmental education initiatives that you know of were started by teachers, parents, or non-profit organizations? That’s typical: from artistic approaches to rainwater harvesting to solar boat building, most efforts at teaching kids about environmental issues start with adults. But students often come up with their own programs, too, and the President’s Environmental Youth Awards aims to highlight those efforts that start with schoolkids.

Started in 1971 by the EPA, this awards program “…recognizes young people across America for projects which demonstrate their commitment to the environment.” Awards are given for one project in each of the EPA’s ten regions. After 38 years, the winning projects have run the gamut — everything from peer environmental education to recycling efforts to wetlands restoration. Recent winners have included

  • The Green Books Project in Lewisville, NC: Student Cory Adkins saw textbooks being thrown away at his school, and started his program to sell these books… and use the funds generated to support recycling in his community.
  • Get the Lead Out of Fishing in Milton, MA: Lead fishing weights can lead to poisoned fish and wildlife, so Boy Scout Michael Browne, along with the rest of his troop, created greener alternatives, and passed them out, along with information on the dangers of lead, at local fishing derbies.
  • Public Environmental Awareness Program in Pasadena, TX: High-school senior Bianca Locke designed this environmental education program (which included writing two books), got other students and city officials involved, and presented it “…to more than 30 schools, day care centers, community events, youth organizations, environmental workshops, churches, local libraries, and summer camps.”

Impressive… and inspiring! If you know of K-12 students doing innovative work on environmental issues, the EPA is taking applications for the 2010 awards through December 31st. Region 1 Environmental Education Coordinator Kristen Conroy describe PEYA as one her favorite activities all year at the EPA’s Greenversations blog, noting that she “…never [gets] bored with students’ passion and action towards the environment.”

Of course, don’t forget to share student projects here also… we’d love to hear about them! Leave us a comment below…



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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